High street retailer Marks & Spencer was fined #10,000 today for misleading shoppers about a range of men's clothing.
The retail giant pleaded guilty at Birmingham Magistrates Court to five offences under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 after claiming its "I Italian" range was made in Italy.
The prosecution followed a complaint to trading standards officials from a member of the public who had visited the M&S store in High Street, Birmingham.
An inspection in November 2003 discovered that although signage, ticketing, labelling and display indicated the clothing was made in Italy, a coat, jacket, trousers and two pairs of shoes were actually made in Egypt, Romania or India.
Councillor Neil Eustace, chair of public protection at Birmingham City Council, said: "This seems to have been a deliberate ploy to deceive the public into believing they are buying Italian merchandise of a certain standard."
The store was fined #2,000 for each offence and ordered to pay the local authority's costs of #6,500.
Sue Sadler, of M&S, said: "We used this 'I Italian' branding and decor to create an Italian feel and convey a sense of Italy.
"All items were clearly marked with their country of origin. But Birmingham City Council felt the decor was potentially misleading. We felt that was a fair point and we took steps to address the issue.
"We apologise to our customers but reassure them there was never our intention to mislead them."
More on this story in Tuesday's Birmingham Post