Screwfix 'back to normal' after pricing glitch

Trade tools and accessories supplier Screwfix apologised after a technical glitch resulted it many of its premium products being listed for a much cheaper price of £34.99.

Many of the accidental special offers were spotted last Thursday evening by members of the deal hunting website HotUKDeals, with a number of customers able to order items and collect them the following morning.

One example highlighted by HotUKDeals involved a member collecting £1,130 worth of drills from their local store for a total cost of £139.96.

The Screwfix website went offline once the company had noticed the error, and those who tried to purchase or collect goods for the reduced rate after the problem had been acknowledged were refunded their money.

In a statement on Friday, Screwfix said: "Last night a number of customers visiting the site experienced a technical issue which resulted in some products being displayed at obviously low prices.

"The issue has been resolved and everything is now back up and running as usual."

In a message to customers affected by the problems, the spokesperson added: "We have reviewed all transactions and those customers affected are being contracted today [Friday] and issued a refund. This does not affect any customers who have already received a delivery or collected their goods."

In the 13 weeks ended 2 November 2013, like-for-like sales at Screwfix grew by 11.1% to £180 million. Nine outlets opened during the period, taking the number of Screwfix stores to 303.

The company launched a mobile 'click, pay & collect' service in 2012, and now almost three-quarters of the company's sales made via mobile are collected in-store. Kingfisher sees the business as a good example of an online retailer moving into the physical retailing space, and is now investigating how the technological learnings from Screwfix's evolution can be replicated in its wider retail portfolio.