Clive Beddall Tesco and Asda hijacked the UK's media machinery this week and grabbed millions of pounds' worth of free publicity for their latest salvoes in the high street price war. The multiples' spin doctors worked overtime as Asda celebrated the first anniversary of its Rollback campaign with a set of cuts which it claimed "underlines our growing price gap over our competitors." And, not to be outdone, Tesco, announced it was knocking £66 million off the cost of its food range by reducing the price of 10,000 lines by an average of 9%. The result, as other multiples attempted to pour scorn on the campaigns by claiming their own cuts were "just as competitive," was a deluge of publicity for the two. Tabloids, broadsheets and broadcasting media jumped off the Rip-off Britain bandwagon and splashed the story. Other cynical observers, however, dismissed the cuts as a "timely stunt" given the Competition Commission was due to publish its latest report into the supermarkets just 24 hours later. One retail analyst even suggested the two were making cuts which were simply tactical. "Prices have been raised elsewhere. Basically, they are robbing Peter to pay Paul," was one comment. However, that did not stop the razzmatazz from Leeds and Cheshunt. Asda CEO Allan Leighton said: "Rollback is having a major impact on grocery prices. Over the past year, the price of a typical basket of 33 items has fallen from £67.69 to £55.20 ­ a saving of more than 18%. Through Rollback, Asda has already increased its price gap over competitors to 9%." And Tesco marketing director Tim Mason joined in the fun: "Our price cuts are massive. We won't be beaten by anyone ­ and we're going to keep on cutting. Low food prices in Britain are here to stay. And once again, Tesco is leading the way." {{NEWS }}