Sainsbury's loses clash of the titans as its challenge over Tesco's Price Promise is thrown out

Catherine Neilan
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Tesco Price Promise: For once, something has gone right for Tesco (Source: Getty).
Tesco can breathe a sigh of relief – Sainsbury's claim that its Price Promise campaign was unlawful and like comparing “apples with pears” has been thrown out by a High Court judge.
Sainsbury's had complained that, when applied to Tesco's own label products and fresh food, the price comparisons were misleading, unfair and unlawful. The promise involves a pledge to match Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons on baskets containing at least 10 items up to a maximum value of £10.
Products at the centre of the dispute included bottled water, eggs, chicken korma, cod fillets, ham and tea bags.
Lawyers had claimed that the advert did not take into account elements such as the quality of products, sustainability and ethical matters. It was, they argued, a case of comparing “apples with pears”.
Sainsbury's was seeking a judicial review over a decision made by the Advertising Standards Authority 's independent reviewer Sir Hayden Phillips, who had back the watchdog's original view that the products “met the same needs or purpose” and could therefore be compared under UK Advertising Codes.
Today however the supermarket's claim was dismissed.
The judge ruled there were no grounds for saying Sir Hayden had gone wrong in law, Press Association said.

A spokesman for the ASA told City A.M: "We are pleased that Sainsbury's claim for judicial rule against the ASA's indpendent reviewer has been unsuccessful - we are satisfied with the outcome."

However it's a blow for new Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe who has said previously the company had a high chance of winning its claim.

“We do not believe the Tesco price comparison is fair and reasonable and this is something we will do utmost to protect.” Coupe said at the time.
A Sainsbury's spokeswoman told City A.M: “We are disappointed by today’s outcome and we will consider all our options.
"While we respect the court’s decision that the independent reviewer acted lawfully when adjudicating our complaint against Tesco, we continue to believe that it is fundamentally misleading for customers if price comparison schemes are inconsistent in taking into account provenance, quality and whether products are Fairtrade or sustainably sourced.
"These values continue to be at the heart of our business and it will be for customers to reach their own verdict on this issue.”

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