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New World launched its MasterChef cookware promotion in July, with customers given a sticker for every $20 spent until November 5.
Customers were given until November 19 to redeem stickers for MasterChef-branded cookware, including frypans, roasting pans and utensils - or "until stocks last”.
But customers who collected stickers and were left empty-handed said New World should have ordered enough stock to honour the promotion.
However, Foodstuffs spokeswoman Emma Wooster said the company had been clear the promotion would run until stocks lasted.
"The promotion officially finished on Sunday, 5th November, and like similar promotions run over the years, it’s been strictly while stocks last, and we’ve communicated this throughout,” she said.
The company "forecast the amount of stock needed” by looking at other promotions here and overseas and taking into account the cost-of-living crisis, Wooster said.
Similar issues plagued a Spiegelau glassware promotion in 2020 and a Smeg knife promotion in 2021.
"The same thing happened with the glassware promotion and the Smeg knives promotion,” one shopper said.
"I collected stickers for both of those and it was for nothing. I got two wine glasses because that’s all that was available.”
Customer Phil Stratford said he spent $1200 at New World hoping to get his hands on some cookware but was left empty-handed.
By the time he had collected enough stickers, the goods were gone.
The Lower Hutt man said his local New World didn’t have stock but he was still "encouraged to spend” and was then given more stickers and told to try other stores.
"I contacted Oriental Bay, Porirua, Stokes Valley and Upper Hutt - same story, all prize stock gone,” he said.
Stratford said there was "no goodwill” and said the company was "relying on apathy and kindness of customers to let it go”.
He said he had reported the promotion to the Commerce Commission on various points, including that the fine print with the conditions was "so small I can hardly read it with my glasses”.
The New Zealand Herald has approached the Commerce Commission for comment.
Wooster said the New World MasterChef promotion had been one of Foodstuffs’ most successful to date.
"TCC, the international supplier we partnered with, said the response to the promotion has been unlike anything they have seen across their global market,” she said.
Wooster said she appreciated it was disappointing for some customers to get to the final days of the promotion and miss out.
"We’ve worked really hard to make sure our customers understood it was while stocks last and what stock was most popular as the promotion progressed,” she said.
Stores had been monitoring stock daily and in-store stands showed availability.
"New World stores had prominent signage in-store to indicate what pieces they had left in stock and there were frequent updates on each local New World’s Facebook page.”
Wooster said there was limited stock available in some stores and stickers could be redeemed until November 19 - or until stock had run out.
Jessica Walker from Consumer NZ said New World had recommended that shoppers swap their stickers for products as soon as they could.
"However, there will be many shoppers who have been diligently collecting their stickers and saving towards a particular item that they now can’t redeem because of the stock situation,” she said.
"We understand New World gave assurances at the start of the promotion that it was confident there would be enough stock to meet demand, so we are disappointed this isn’t the case.”