WH Smith apologises after outcry over hospital shop prices

WH Smith has apologised after a computer error resulted in some toiletries in hospital shops being sold at almost eight times the high street price.

The newsagent said it was conducting a review after it emerged that Colgate toothpaste was being sold for £7.99 in its hospital kiosks. It has outlets in 129 hospitals across the UK where, according to reports, other essentials including nappies and mouthwash were also heavily marked up in price.

On Saturday, the retailer said it had reviewed pricing across its stores and found that a computer glitch on a certain line of products had led to the price hike in hospitals.

A spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to our customers for a small number of recent pricing errors in our system. The errors have now been rectified and the extra profits from these sales will be donated to charity.”

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, told the Telegraph: “When people are unwell and in hospital, and therefore unable to go elsewhere with any ease, they should be able to expect retailers not to exploit their situation for profit.”

WH Smith said it aimed to be competitive with other high-street retailers. “Prices in our hospital stores are the same as our high-street stores,” the spokesman said.

At a WH Smith outlet at Pinderfields hospital, part of Mid Yorkshire hospital trust, a 75g tube of Colgate toothpaste was on sale for £7.99, when the same product could be bought for about £1 in Superdrug or Sainsbury’s.



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