The UK's second-largest supermarket chain, Asda, has vowed to end the "phoney grocery price wars" by today launching a promise that it will not be beaten on price, as data showed its sales growth was lagging its big three rivals.
The Asda Price Guarantee promises that if customers can purchase a basket of eight or more comparable products cheaper at Tesco, Sainsbury's or Morrisons, the grocer will give them a money-off voucher for the difference, plus a penny, which they can redeem the next time they go shopping at Asda.
Andy Bond, the chief executive of Walmart-owned Asda, said: "From today, Asda cannot, and will not, be beaten on price. Our grocery guarantee puts an end to the phoney price wars that most shoppers are sick of."
The price comparison specialist, Mysupermarket.co.uk, will power the facility on Asda's website. Customers have 28 days to input details of their receipt, including the transaction code, and redeem the printable voucher.
Asda said the initiative will cover 13,000 branded and own-brand products, although no products with a pack size difference of more than 10 per cent are included. While price reductions and promotions at other supermarkets, including "buy one, get one free" are covered, promotions such as "buy strawberries and get cream free" are not. Bryan Roberts, at Planet Retail, said: "I think it is quite significant because it will bring a great deal of transparency to existing and new Asda customers." The guarantee also applies to Tesco and Sainsbury's grocery home shopping. Rick Bendel, the chief marketing officer at Asda, said: "This will change the way people are going to shop. It is the first time anywhere in the world to provide a permanent guarantee on the lowest price in the basket." He added that Asda had been working on the initiative for more than a year and it was unrelated to its recent trading.
For the 12 weeks to 18 April, Asda's sales growth of 2.5 per cent was behind Morrisons' 6.6 per cent, Sainsbury's 4.1 per cent and Tesco's 3.7 per cent, according to Kantar Worldpanel.