Supermarket Giants in Court Battle Over Ad ‘Misstatement’ Claims

22 August 2001

Supermarketeer Target Corporation yesterday filed a suit at Minneapolis federal court alleging that rival Kmart’s ‘Dare to Compare’ comparative pricing ad campaign misstated hundreds of Target’s prices.

The lawsuit cites a Kmart ad featuring a six-outlet electric strip at $2.99, comparing this with Target’s price of $3.49 – but Target insists it doesn’t even stock the line. According to the plaintiff, Kmart promised to withdraw this and other ads but failed to do so.

So miffed was Target at this alleged perfidy that it hired a market research company to audit Kmart’s instore ads. Of the 622 displays checked 74% of those mentioning Target had at least one error – and nearly 30% of the lines compared weren’t carried by Target’s nearest store.

Kmart reacted to the lawsuit with pious indignation: “It is unfortunate when a competitor has to resort to needless, costly litigation when they discover that they are falling behind in pricing in the retail arena,” it sighed. It would, however, defend its right to display competitive pricing information.

News source: Wall Street Journal