// M&S faces criticism for selling 500ml hand sanitiser bottles for £11.50
// The retailer has been accused of exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic
Marks & Spencer has reportedly been accused of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic after selling hand sanitiser bottles for twice as much as equivalents elsewhere.
Due to the pandemic, demand for hand sanitiser has surged as people were asked to regularly wash their hands to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
M&S advertised 500ml hand sanitiser bottles for £11.50, The Guardian reported.
- M&S to reveal post-coronavirus future in annual results next week
- New M&S Clothing & Home MD’s start date confirmed
M&S said the sanitisers were initially priced at £15 by mistake.
However, the new £11.50 cost is still higher than similar products sold elsewhere.
Customers can find the same amount of hand sanitiser at health and beauty giant Boots for £4.15 with a different 250ml one priced at £2, while Superdrug offers 300ml of hand gel for £3.49.
Labour’s shadow consumer minister Lucy Powell recently said it was unacceptable for businesses to exploit the pandemic to “line their pockets”.
Moreover, the CMA received 21,000 complaints between March 10 and April 19 related to the pandemic, including grievances about price rises.
Shoppers have taken to social media to express their outrage over M&S’s hand sanitiser bottles.
Saw this on sale at my local M&S today. Couldn't believe the price: £11.50 for a bottle of hand sanitiser. pic.twitter.com/kpRnTxeGfF
— Paul Anderson (@PaulAndersonNE6) May 15, 2020
60,000 tragic deaths should not be exploited by M&S – currently charging £11.50 for a bottle of hand sanitizer during the Covid19 crisis. pic.twitter.com/QZsto8rV9H
— CenGin #NHSandCareWorkersNeedPPE (@CenGinLondon) May 18, 2020
In March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested the government could bring in new laws to crackdown on profiteering during the pandemic.
Labour is understood to be looking at ways to strengthen consumer protection in any upcoming legislation.
M&S defended its decision to sell the hand sanitisers and added that it has been selling own brand hand gel for £2 per 100ml for over two years.
“To help our customers whilst there’s high demand, we’ve temporarily introduced branded products into our stores – competitively priced at £2.30 per 100ml,” it stated.
“When Belux was introduced last month, we sold it at the wrong price for a couple of hours and customers would have course of been entitled to a refund of the difference.”