"What's the point of stocking both Utterly Butterly and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter? It's only marge!"

With an insouciant flourish, Asda's food trading director Darren Blackhurst explained his rationale for delisting similar products at a store managers' convention in September.

"I can't even remember which one stayed in, to be honest," he added, casually.

In fact it was Unilever's I Can't Believe It's Not Butter that got the boot. But missing from Blackhurst's analysis was the fact that Asda has an own label product of its own called You'd Butter Believe It, which is still listed.

And it wasn't Asda's only cheeky move of the year.

In the spring, the retailer urged shoppers to name and shame suppliers using excess packaging by dumping the worst-offending products in strategically placed bins.

The scheme was quickly shelved when it came to light that precious few customers were actually using the bins.

But one of the few offending products that did get flagged up was a packet of dried apricots in which each apricot was wrapped in plastic like a boiled sweet. The offending line? It was an Asda own label.

Not that Asda was the only one to see a public relations stunt backfire.

Sainsbury's might have pulled off a coup when it secured a deal to sell green fashion accessory of the year, Anya Hindmarsh's I'm NOT A Plastic Bag.

However, there were rather red faces all round when checkout staff were spotted packing the environmentally friendly bags into, er, plastic bags.