Sainsbury’s to take Tesco ad fight to court

Kasmira Jefford
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J SAINSBURY has announced it is to take Tesco to court to seek a judicial review, after the UK’s advertising watchdog twice rejected the retailer’s complaint against Tesco’s price comparison campaign.

Tesco’s Price Promise scheme, launched in March, compares the cost of thousands of own-branded products against Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s and offers a money-off coupon if rivals are cheaper.

The move sparked one of its biggest battles to date with rival Sainsbury’s, which claims it is impossible to compare own-brand products because they are made to a different standard and come from different sources.

Sainsbury’s Basics tea – which the retailer cites as an example – is Fairtrade, but matched by Tesco against its Everyday Value Tea, which is not.

Sainsbury’s lost its appeal against the Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling in August. But commercial director Mike Coupe believes the chain has a higher chance of success at the judicial review hearing, which is expected to take place next summer.

“We do not believe the Tesco price comparison is fair and reasonable and this is something we will do utmost to protect.” Coupe said.

“More than ever, customers want to let their values guide them and in price-matching its products with ours, Tesco is – when it sees fit – choosing to ignore factors such as ethical or provenance certification or even country of origin. We think that’s wrong and we’re pretty sure our customers do too,” he added.

Responding to Sainsbury’s decision today a Tesco spokesperson said: “Tesco Price Promise offers customers reassurance on the price of their whole shop, in store and online, not just the big brand products. When family budgets are under pressure, that is the kind of help customers want and the real question for Sainsbury’s is why they aren’t trying to do the same for their customers.”