>>well done to asda for being cheapest supermarket for eighth year


Many congratulations to Asda for being named Britain’s cheapest supermarket for the eighth year in a row in The Grocer 33 mystery shopping survey. It’s an incredible achievement, particularly as our research shows that Tesco has been piling on the pressure for much of the past year.
As you know, last summer we radically revamped our mystery shopping survey to ensure that it remains the industry benchmark. We are now checking prices using two measures: a rotating basket of 33 items that we publish in the magazine and a new index that we have dubbed The Grocer 100. And Asda has been the clear winner on both these measures.
But our survey doesn’t measure price alone. We believe that availability and in-store service are just as important. So it’s great to be able to report that Morrisons has scooped both these prizes this year.
Clearly, the merger of Safeway is proving extremely painful for Sir Ken and his team - with a fifth profit warning in less than a year. Yet, in the Morrisons stores we visited during the past 12 months, we found that the attention to retail detail was as strong as ever - with availability at an incredible 98.3% during the year, despite all the distractions of Safeway. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t quite as rosy at those stores still trading as Safeway. They will need plenty of work to bring them up to the same standards as Morrisons stores in the conversion programme that is now under way.
There’s plenty of good news for other retailers in the annual results of our survey. For instance: claims by Sainsbury to have boosted availability and in-store service and sharpened up prices is borne out by our research - with boss Justin King’s local Sainsbury supermarket in Leamington Spa winning our Top Store award this week. Meanwhile, Tesco has had a stonking year when it comes to having products on-shelf - and is second overall in our availability league table.
But the results that I find most reassuring are those for The Grocer Price Index, which is our inflation tracker. Prices fell by a scary amount between July and November, but have recovered sufficently for us to be able to report a 0.9% rise for the year as a whole. Not great. But not bad either for a market that everybody says is gripped in a deflationary spiral.
it’s official: they’re tops!