It is renowned for its Rollback campaign but many of the prices at Asda are not rolling back very far, according to a report yesterday.

Around half the price cuts introduced by the supermarket chain in its latest Rollback promotion are only 1p, it was claimed.

Asda announced recently that it would cut a further 5,000 prices by Easter, reaching a total of 12,500 price cuts this year.

The retailer added that it was dropping buy-one-get-one free offers in favour of everyday low pricing. Last week, the first wave of the new price cuts were checked by trade magazine The Grocer, which monitors supermarket prices.

Data from The Grocer 33 shopping basket – comprising several hundred items across 12 categories – found that while a fifth of the Asda items tracked by the database fell in price, more than half of these were only cut by 1p.

Conversely, fewer than one in ten of the prices that increased at Asda only rose by 1p. Asda, the UK’s second biggest supermarket chain, has had the cheapest basket in The Grocer’s weekly survey for all this year.

Kay Staniland, managing director of promotional consultancy Assosia, said: ‘Our own research has also seen a rise in the number of cuts of just 1p, accounting for anything from 20% to 50% of reductions.

‘As a retailer seen as consistently good on price, and cheapest year-on-year in The Grocer 33, this sort of tactic could very well backfire.’

An Asda spokesman confirmed that 1p price reductions were included in its count of its price cuts but insisted that the retailer offered good value to customers. ‘While it is fair to say some of our products have come down by a few pennies, overall since the start of the year products reduced in price have come down by 11% on average,’ she told The Grocer.

‘As The Grocer 33 shows, week in week out we are the undisputed price leader. That’s why by Easter we will have cut 12,500 prices net since January 1, with dozens of deep Rollbacks on the way.’

Published in This is, 09 March 2009

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