Tesco does battle with rivals over price coupons

Britain's largest retailer has upped the ante on the supermarket price wars by introducing money-off vouchers of up to a tenner, if customers could have got their shopping more cheaply at a rival.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Holding on to the crown of ‘most popular supermarket’ in the UK is getting tougher, as the retailers fight to prove to customers that they offer the best value. Tesco said on Monday that it will be introducing the automatically generated coupons from today, which will compare prices on thousands of goods with Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons and offer customers a discount on their next shop if it was cheaper elsewhere.

The scheme looks squarely aimed at Sainsbury’s, which already gives you a voucher for the difference on branded goods if they were cheaper elsewhere. Chris Bush, UK managing director of Tesco, said: ‘We’re the first major retailer in the UK to compare our own prices against the branded and own label prices of our competitors and give customers an automatic coupon for the difference.’ 

Of course, not only does the deal kick the price wars upstairs, it also serves as a convenient bit of friendly fluff for consumers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. The chain has already put out thousands of flyers to its stores with a slightly cheesy, hyperbolic ‘we are changing our ways’ type of message, so the promise of cheaper goods is evidently seen by bosses as a good way to get people back in the stores. Although we reckon the cheapo Bolognese ready meals will stay lonely on the shelves…

Interestingly, as part of its strangely Orwellian note to customers, Tesco also said that it will source more beef and chicken from the UK, and peppered it with talk of making sure milk producers get above the market rate for their produce. At MT though, we’re guessing the extra cost of that, combined with the effective price-cutting coupons may hit the financial results a little…

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