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Super Value Chief Calls For Pricing, Exemption Clarity

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Super Value’s owner yesterday urged the Government to publish its list of Value-Added Tax (VAT) ‘exempt’ items, and called for prices to be confined to store shelves - not the products.

Rupert Roberts, who is also the supermarket chain’s president, told Tribune Business that the private sector would “not co-operate” with ‘fewer exemptions’ - as promised by the Prime Minister - as it wanted almost zero.

And he expressed concern about the VAT ‘transition’ that will take place at year-end, given that it would require his food stores to re-price an average 37,000 items overnight.

Mr Roberts said the Government’s revised VAT structure, with no proportionate reduction in Customs duties, meant “a 7.5 per cent increase in the cost of living, and that’s what we have to gear up for”.

“It’s just what I expected, just what I thought they’d do,” Mr Roberts added of the Government’s revised VAT plan.

“We will not co-operate with ‘fewer exemptions’. It’s got to be simple like the New Zealanders said, and if they give us a more complicated VAT, no one will co-operate. I guess they’ll get us in again, relaunch and pitch it back to us.”

He added: “The exemptions is what bothered the private sector. It leaves you with dirty math, and we don’t want dirty math. The Government can’t handle dirty math.

“I’d love to know what those exemptions are. Every exemption costs us money.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie, in his Budget communication, strongly hinted that most food items, especially ‘breadbasket’ ones, would no longer be treated as VAT ‘exempt’

Such a status meant that food retailers would be unable to claim back VAT ‘input’ payments in proportion to the percentage of such items they stocked, and ‘breadbasket’ items account for up to 80 per cent of food store inventories.

The Prime Minister also moved away from previous plans for retailers to display VAT ‘inclusive’ and ‘exclusive’ - with and without VAT - pricing on their products.

Retailers had complained about the cost and time involved with this, and the fact it would remind consumers about the VAT increases - something they feared getting blamed for.

However, Mr Roberts yesterday suggested that prices be confined to the “tape” on store shelves where the respective products are situated, rather than applied to them.

This, he argued, would both make the January 1 transition easier for retailers and also minimise consumer concerns.

“We’ve got 37,000 items in a store and it will take forever to do the shift over,” Mr Roberts explained. “We can’t close Sunday night and open Monday morning with new prices.

“Retailers want VAT on the tape. Merchants have been calling me today asking me for my opinion.”

Mr Roberts added that price increases spread across 37,000 items would leave many consumers “screaming blue murder”.

“It’s going to leave a bad taste and last a long time,” he added.

Comments

The_Oracle 6 years, 1 month ago

VAT, if at 7.5% across the board, need not be shown in the price of goods, which incorporates Cost, freight, duty, markup and profit. Sales tax or VAT is not shown item by item elsewhere in the world, but is shown on a receipt. Duty is considered a cost, therefore is marked up and incorporated into the price. VAT should be shown on the receipt however, so everyone sees the Governments take via VAT. The Governments take otherwise is hidden, and should not be, as it is significant.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 1 month ago

Most definitely, I want to have on my receipt the breakdown of what portion of the cost of my bill is attributed to VAT. 100% a must.

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ohdrap4 6 years, 1 month ago

appears that it is not going to happen, because they want the consumer to know how much in total he pays, regardless of whether the business is a vat contributor

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ohdrap4 6 years, 1 month ago

but funny thing about cost shifting and price controls fage yogurt, 16 oz, is sold for 4.99 at solomons fresh market harbour bat same item is advertised 7.59 at solomon's marathon, which no one bought, so on the expiry date, they reduced by 25% same item at super value winton is 8.99

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TheMadHatter 6 years, 1 month ago

These are the things that supermarkets have to do to stay in business. This is what happens to "other" items when Govt makes a business have their prices for "bread basket" items at a fixed mark-up.

The money to pay the power bill has to come from somewhere. It everything but potato chips was price controlled - then potato chips would be $99.00 a bag. If everything becomes price controlled, then supermarkets will go out of business, and the Govt will open up soup kitchens.

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TheMadHatter 6 years, 1 month ago

The Govt is doing that so that the "Duty Free" stores on Bay Street can remain "Duty Free". LOL

TheMadHatter

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