Need to know
- We were recently tipped off by a vigilant consumer that Chemist Warehouse's definition of a sale is a bit rubbery
- Our whistleblower found that prices on three items were significantly more expensive during its Black Friday sale
- It's more evidence that retailers can and will defy reasonable consumer expectations
It's no secret that Australian retailers have jumped on the Black Friday sales bandwagon in a big way in recent years, taking a cue from the supercharged American marketplace.
Whether online or instore, during a Black Friday sale – or any other sale for that matter – you would reasonably expect prices to go down and not up.
But some customers found that was not the case at major Australian retail chain Chemist Warehouse on November 26, 2021, this year's designated Black Friday.
Our shopper found that prices jumped significantly on Black Friday on three items in her online shopping cart
We were recently tipped off by an admirably vigilant consumer who documented Chemist Warehouse prices before, during and after Black Friday and found that the retailer's sale prices on the day were markedly higher.
Our shopper found that prices jumped significantly on Black Friday on three items in her online shopping cart, as the graphic below depicts.
The longtime Chemist Warehouse customer told us: "It shocked me to see prices increase between Nov 22 and Nov 26 for a group of items I wished to purchase. I have asked for an explanation, but received no advice yet."
The three items in question jumped a collective 38% higher than their 22 November price.
Chemist Warehouse responds
According to a Chemist Warehouse spokesperson, the explanation for the Black Friday price increase on the three items in question has to do with the company's current sales strategy, which involves "a vast array of sales campaigns".
"Over the period you have identified, what you consider pricing of concern is simply the dovetailing of marketing activities," the spokesperson said. "Three separate sale events ran from one, into another and then into the other."
That may well be the case, but from the customers' perspective, it's a bit confusing. The lesson? A Black Friday sale may not actually mean items are less expensive than before and after the sale.