Sainsbury’s Brand Match: a game-changer in the supermarket price war?
As Sainsbury's launches its response to Tesco’s Big Price Drop, we take a look at some of the catches involved and how it compares with the other major supermarkets.
Image: Rui Vieira - PA Wire
Sainsbury's launches a new price promise today that it hopes will outmuscle its rivals in the ongoing supermarket price war.
The store's Brand Match scheme promises to ensure customers won't get be able to buy branded (ie, non-Sainsbury's) goods cheaper at Asda or Tesco. The nationwide roll-out follows an "overwhelmingly well received" pilot in 12 stores in Northern Ireland.
Sainbury's will use independent data to calculate, at the till, the cost of 13,000 goods against both of the aforementioned supermarkets. If the branded items in a shopper's basket would have been cheaper at either Tesco or Asda, the customer will instantly get a coupon to the value of the difference, ready to be spent on their next shop.
With shoppers apparently able to get the rewards of shopping around without doing any of the work, Sainsbury's describes its scheme as a "a revolution in retail". But is it really all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a closer look...
Reading the fine print
While a scheme that looks to guarantee customers the cheapest prices is certainly nothing to complain about, it's important to be sure you know what you're getting with big price offers such as these.
The first and most obvious flaw in the Sainsbury's scheme is that only branded goods are included in the comparison. So if you usually go for a supermarket's own-brand goods, you might be better off elsewhere.
On top of that, the cashback can only be spent in Sainsbury's stores within 14 days of receipt, and can't be used or issued on online purchases due to "technical limitations". A strange quirk in the system also means that customers can't use more than one voucher of the same value when making a purchase.
Shoppers will also have to spend at least £20 to qualify for the Brand Match scheme. That means it's only really good for a significant shop, and not necessarily for your day-to-day bits and bobs.
And as there are only two other supermarkets included in the comparison, shoppers will still have to do their own homework to discover whether the likes of Morrisons and Ocado could offer them a smaller bill on their shopping.
Tesco Clubcard points halved under price shake-up
What the rivals have to say
While Sainsbury's is confident that customers will be drawn to their stores by the new offers, its rivals are equally bullish about their ability to get people through the door.
Tesco was embarrassed last week when it emerged that a basket of goods at the store had actually become more expensive, despite a high-profile Big Price Drop campaign that promised cuts to more than 3,000 of its most popular items.
However, the UK's largest supermarket chain is still confident that it can outstrip its rivals. A spokesperson for the company told MSN Money that Tesco's simple price cuts made it easier for customers to save money than the Brand Match scheme would, and added that more than seven million of its Clubcard users had benefitted from the new, lower prices in the first week of the Big Price Drop.
Asda says that their Price Guarantee means they can promise to be 10% better value than rivals on a comparable grocery shop. Customers will receive a voucher to make it so if this isn't the case, although they will have to do the checking themselves by entering their receipt details online.
Morrisons, meanwhile, has not been included in Sainsbury's Brand Match guarantee, despite outstripping the supermarket in comparisons carried out by both The Sun and the Grocer magazine this week. The chain - which is enjoying the fastest growth of the 'big four' supermarkets - said it had no plans to respond to the price guarantees of its rivals, stating that its 11.5 million customers "think what we're doing is right".
Figures published yesterday by Kantar also revealed that Tesco and Asda - Britain's two largest grocers - were losing market share to smaller players such as Aldi, Lidl and Iceland and, indeed, Morrisons. That would seem to indicate that Brits are increasingly looking for better value by heading away from the bigger name stores.
So where is cheapest?
While there are various straw polls carried out each week on this subject, it's difficult to come up with a truly definitive answer to the question of which supermarket is cheapest. In reality, that will come down to your shopping habits.
That will depend on the mixture of goods you buy, how regularly you shop, any loyalty schemes you belong to (such as Nectar or Clubcard), and, of course, the cost of getting there (the chances are driving an extra mile to save on the cost of onions will see you losing out in the long run).
As ever, then, shoppers are best off shopping around, utilising whatever offers and loyalty schemes can get them value, and always being wary of the small print before being sucked in by a big price promise.
Tesco Clubcard points halved under price shake-up
The latest restaurant discount vouchers
Does Asda's Tech Trade-In live up to the hype?
Three Golden Rules to remember ...
1 ..... don't believe the hype.
2 ..... Don't Believe The Hype!
3 ..... DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
They should be in politics! For Gods Sake Folks ..... Just shop where you feel best!
And remember .... Don't etc etc
having spent the year increasing prices ......tescos have some very interesting items in their price drop promotion ...like 2p off a certain type of goats cheese 12p off a bag of rice crackers ....all very useful .they have reduced the price of milk in certain sizes but increased it in others .
as for their wine pricing ....dont get me going .two examples they have a costieres de nimes 11.99 reduced to 5.99 ....that wine is a 4.99 bottle it is never a 12 pound bottle .i notice they have the pinot grigio which for 11 months a year is supposedly half price at 4.99 ,at the moment it is 9.99 ....it is only ever a 5 pound bottle .
they are also selling a frizzante which they claim the full price is 12 pounds ...that is like saying lambrini should be 10 pound a bottle ........you cannot sell wine honestly at half price the figures dont allow it .
the price of tesco toilet brushes has also trebled in a year
Tesco, used to be my main shop' but now I very seldom shop there anymore, as it pays me to shop elsewhere due to them being more greedy for profit and removing many of the cheaper brands that we could afford, forcing as it were' to get people to pick up similar products at a greater price, they think they are smart, but in reality it's stupid tactics that will lose them a great number of customers and you know the old saying
( the customer's always right )
We used to shop at Tesco.
We stopped because of the unhelpful attitude of their customer service department.
We now shop at Morrisons which is much cheaper.
If you are not happy with your Tesco store, shop somewhere else and teach them a lesson.
They only make a bucket load of money if you spend your hard earned cash there.
They will never be poor ,but if enough people join together we may just make a dent in their profits and force some changes.
As independent Companies they can charge what they like. There is no legislation to limit prices, hence some of the big increases for no reason other than maximising profit.
Tesco is a huge company with a turnover running into billions therefore it's profits are also in billions and there is nothing wrong with that.
HOWEVER putting up prices and a week or so later dropping them as a special offer is not right.
The average person does not take a computer shopping and although we may remember some prices it's impossible to beat this systematic game with prices.
The introduction of things like Tesco's finest and Sainsbury whatever !!! are they saying that most of the other products are not good quality. A man called Gerald Ratner said the same for his products and that sunk his business.
A previous comment mentioned prices of wine, they move the prices by huge percentages doubling the price and then making a special offer back at the original price.
Food is a necessity, we all have to eat to live and to be allowed to play games with this is wrong. They can do what they like with electrical goods, mobile phones etc as the market will restrict any game playing, food is different.
How should we deal with this. We could all stop going to Tesco and use Asda but then they would do the same as Tesco. Same with Sainsbury and Morrisons.
So there needs to be a mechanism in place, to make them justify any increases.
Meat, Fruit and veg are sold to regular retailers in big markets. These markets show the average prices for these goods every week. Maybe MSN could publish these prices each week. That would give us an indication of where to expect prices to go up and down.
We have to remember that supermarkets do not normally use these markets, as they make arrangements with the producers direct but it would give us a better idea of pricing.
The other alternative is for HM Gov to place controls on pricing of basics. We already have a Ministry responsible for food, why can't they set up a department to look at prices. It would not be too complicated to set up, all it needs is a list of basic items an average family needs to buy to live. This list should include items for cleaning as well as food
This list would be given to all the supermarkets and they would be required to file it with the ministry each week. As an example they would need to show the price of milk in all sizes.
In addition they would be required to show any price increase or reduction of more than inflation.
If this was implemented I think it could reduce the UK inflation by maybe one point.
As I said before they can do what they like with other products, their competition will regulate that.
Whilst Tesco claims to be the customers friend why oh why do they charge different prices for petrol at each store when they buy it wholesale?
In our area there are 3 Tesco's and each one charges a different price, yet the areas are the same in regards to social economic status and the pay for ythe employees are the same. When questioned i was told that they only have to be a penny cheaper than any garage within a mile radius.
If you buy any packaged vegetables you will always find one item dodgy.
I heard an old lady asking an assistant for some help in the supermarket the other day.
She wanted a battery ( the same as the old one she had in her hand) for her alarm clock.
The assistant reached and got her a 3 pack of batteries down. 'These are what you need' she said. The old lady said she only needed one. Then the assistant got another 3 pack down and said that they are buy one get one free. The old lady said she only needed one battery but the assistant told her that it was the only way she get any batteries at all.
So the old lady went and paid for her 6 batteries even though she only needed one.
On her way out of the door I saw her looking in her purse to count how much money she had left.
I only went in for a pomegranate but they were two for the price of one. So I left them there.
Whatever schemes, plans, offers the supermarkets come up with you come out thinking you have a bargain but have actually spent more!!!
Do yourself a favour use small shops and buy just exactly what you need. Help your own community and leave the greedy billionaire supermarket owners to rot in their tax havens.
I just went to my local Asda. A pack of sixteen chocolate biscuits is two pounds eighty while a pack of eight is a pound. A pack of six yoghurts is two pounds forty, but purchasing them individually costs one pound eighty.
Says it all, doesn't it?
If you shop online and reject any item and give it back to the driver - you'll need to check your credit card/debit card very carefully to see if you are refunded.
Both Tesco & Sainsburys have a habit of "forgetting" but when prompted will eventually return YOUR money.
How much money is made from those that don't check - and assume they'll do it automatically? If I walked out of their stores having "forgotten" to pay for an item they'd both call me a thief.
i stopped doing my monthly shop at tesco when they had the breakfast cereal on 3 for 2. individual price went from 99p to £1.39 and when 3 for 2 finished guess what? special offer of 99p. i know the cost of foods are going up but just check the % of rises they are adding to their own brands, as much as 40 or 50% in most cases. ripping us off without a care in the world
we shop at tesco for now but that is changing .in the last few shopping trips when buying FRESH FRUIT AND VEG in the matter of days and before the best before date shown things already going off and mouldy. the quality off these so called fresh items is a joke.i was a loyal customer .tesco wheres your loyalty
Dont go to the big supermarkets first go to the pound store! i go there once a week to pick up some stuff for my lunches - a loaf of hovis white bread medium - tesco price £1.15 - pound shop £1 - next 8pck of 330ml cans of pepsi - tesco price £3.76 - pound shop £2 (you do have to buy them a single cans but they work out as 25p a can) and last a 6pck of Frisps - tesco price £1.78 - pound shop price £1. So just on these 3 items i save a total of £2.69! thats only on 3 items, you can also pick up other branded goods like biscuits, chocolates, cans of beans, soup etc etc. Then go to you local butchers for your meat! They might be a little expensive but the quality will be better and if your a regular customer they usually give you a good price.
I always thought the pound shop just had cheap toys and non branded goods but actually they are quite good and you save an absolute packet and in these tough times it cant be sniffed at, alright it might not have the best selection but beggars cant be choosers!
Please note that articles on MSN Money do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. You can search for an IFA in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 6 April 2011, which is, of course, subject to change. The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor. When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.
What current account benefit would you like more of/value the most?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Medical/life insurance
- Travel insurance
- Breakdown cover
- Legal aid
- Tickets for cultural or sporting events
- Lower charges