Supermarket price war intensifies as Sainsbury’s takes on discounter Aldi

The UK’s rumbling supermarket price war is set to intensify after Sainsbury’s said it was to price match discounter Aldi on hundreds of branded and own-brand products.

Sainsbury’s, which is the second-largest chain by market share, and its so-called big four rivals have been battling a loss of customers to the likes of Aldi and Lidl since the financial crisis.

Each of the two European entrants to the UK market have been expanding at pace – and are continuing to do so.

However, a tighter focus on costs in more recent times has allowed the established players, also including Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, to stem the trend through a tighter focus on the customer and price.

The competitive nature of the UK market has been beneficial for shoppers at a time when groceries have been in high demand because of the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

The industry’s status as essential retail has been rewarded with surging sales but it is aware that household budgets are being squeezed by the pandemic’s effects on the economy.

Almost a year after Tesco, the largest player, said it would start price matching Aldi goods, Sainsbury’s said it would match the German-owned discounter on around 250 products.

They include meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy goods.

Examples given by the chain include ‘by Sainsbury’s’ plain flour being cut to 45 pence from 80p.

A 225 gram ‘by Sainsbury’s’ 21 day matured rump steak is to fall from £2.50 from £2.32.

Sainsbury’s said the price match was the first initiative under new chief executive Simon Roberts’ strategy update, announced in November, aimed at focusing on food.

He said of the pledge: “We are making great progress delivering our Food First plan and I’m determined that in these tough times, we do even more to help our customers save money.”

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