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Supermarkets could introduce e-pricing model

Retail experts have predicted that fixed retail prices could disappear within five years, as supermarkets adopt an e-pricing structure that changes based on demand.

The new ‘surge-pricing’ model, similar to that of taxi firm Uber, is a system which is already common in the US and across parts of Europe, and could see the prices of goods change depending on demand and the time of day.

Electronic price changes were tested in a selection of Marks & Spencers food stores last year in a bid to help the lunchtime rush in their stores, with discounts offered before 11am.

Experts have suggested that similar systems could also be used at petrol pumps.

Andrew Dark, from electronic pricing company Displaydata, said: “Paper tags often show the wrong prices as they have to be manually replaced by staff when prices move, but electronic labels can be updated in just 20 seconds.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We always look at ways that technology can help us improve the shopping experience for our customers.”