Ronan Hegarty
It’s official: Asda has emerged as the UK’s cheapest supermarket for an amazing eighth year in a row. The result means that Asda has won the award every year since we launched The Grocer 33 shopping survey in 1997.
It met some stiff competition from Tesco during the year, but a combination of the most victories in our weekly surveys, and its strong performance in our new survey, The Grocer 100, helped Asda keep its crown.
New Asda boss Andy Bond said: “I’m thrilled that we’ve been shown yet again to be Britain’s best value superstore. As the holder of the title, there’s no better proof that Asda’s commitment to Britain’s lowest prices is unshakeable.
“I’d like to thank all my colleagues for all they do to keep prices coming down and
give customers a copper-bottomed guarantee - we’ll work harder than ever in the next 12 months to deserve the title for a ninth year in a row.”
Our survey results will also give Sir Ken Morrison and the rest of the beleaguered Morrisons team a reason to pop the champagne corks - the chain has won The Grocer 33 awards for availability and customer service.
Morrisons’ store operations director Mark Gunther said he was proud of the achievement: “These awards demonstrate that even with the conversion challenges facing our business, the dedication of all our team ensures that we constantly deliver with the right products on the shelf at the right time.”
The first full-year results of The Grocer 100 survey - designed to complement our weekly shopping survey - reveals Asda was 1.8% cheaper on average than Tesco. Morrisons was third-cheapest, while Sainsbury came in fourth with an average basket price 6.2% higher than Asda.
However, the research confirms that Sainsbury’s prices have been falling since chief executive Justin King launched his recovery plan - and the basket price was 2.5% cheaper in the final week of our survey compared with last July.
Sainsbury is the only retailer whose prices have come down. Asda’s basket ended the year 3.3% higher, Tesco’s rose 1.5% while Morrisons’ was up 3.5%.
These recent price rises are reflected in the first full-year results of our inflation tracker, The Grocer Price Index, which shows grocery prices across the industry have risen 0.9% since last July - despite a slump in prices up to November.
While that result may reassure those who fear the industry is locked in a deflationary pricing spiral, the results of our mystery shop this week will provide plenty of food for thought. We asked our mystery shoppers to buy the products on the first shopping list conducted for The Grocer 33 back in 1997 - and we found that prices were actually cheaper this week compared with eight years ago.
>>p18 The Grocer Price Index; p18 Eight years on; p20 End-of-year report