On 17th July 2000 Tesco revived imperial measures (pounds & ounces not grams) in its stores after a survey revealed that 90% of its customers think imperial when weighing their vegetables. European legislation had come into force in January to enforce the selling of loose goods in metric units at the point of sale in the UK with imperial pricing not taking precedence in labeling. Tesco found a loophole in the law which enabled them to use only the traditional imperial measures on their in-store promotions. Both metric and imperial measures would appear on its product packaging and shelving to keep within the law. Marketing director Tim Mason said: “It’s time to turn the scales in favour of the British customer. They tell us that when it comes to size, imperial matters. We’re not anti-Europe, but we are pro-shopper.”
Tesco carried out the survey of 1,000 people of all ages when their online shopping division revealed that customers were mis-ordering goods – one shopper ordered 3kg (6.6lb) of broccoli instead of 3lb and another ordered 9kg (19.8lb) of potatoes instead of 9lb. The Department of Trade and Industry welcomed the move. “We are very keen that retailers play their part in helping customers,” the statement read. The British Weights and Measures Association is also celebrating the stand taken by Tesco as it claims that the existing regulations are unenforceable and largely ignored by the 40,000 small shopkeepers in the UK.