Morrisons today became the first of the “big four” supermarket chains to pledge to match the prices of discount rivals Aldi and Lidl.
The move will put pressure on Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s to follow suit as they attempt to stop shoppers flocking to the cut-price stores.
Morrisons has also launched its first loyalty card as the chain attempts to catch up with Tesco’s Clubcard and the Sainsbury’s Nectar card.
Morrisons boss Dalton Philips said: “Our Match & More card is the most comprehensive price match and points scheme in the UK. Because it price matches the discounters, it will provide the ultimate guarantee about Morrisons’ value-for-money.”
Morrisons customers will also have up to a year to spend their price match difference — far longer than at rival stores. Sainsbury’s offers a voucher at tills to match Asda prices, but it must be spent in two weeks and cannot be used online.
Tesco offers customers a voucher which must be used within a month. For Asda’s price guarantee, shoppers must input their receipt code online and print a voucher.
Shares in the major supermarkets have plummeted this year, during an unprecedented period of turbulence for the big four. Yesterday Sainsbury’s revealed its third consecutive quarterly sales fall, while Tesco has been engulfed in a damaging row about overstated profits.
By contrast German-owned Aldi and Lidl have seen huge growth, with more than half the UK population saying they have taken advantage of their lower prices in the past three months. This week Aldi announced a 65 per cent jump in profits at its UK arm and said it would respond to price cuts from competitors with further discounts.
The traditional big four have tried to fight the discounters by spending huge sums to win back customers.
Morrisons announced in April it was cutting prices on 1,200 lines and spending £1 billion over three years. Tesco is spending £200 million this year to cut prices and Asda promised last year to spend £1 billion on price cuts over five years.