Tesco and Sainsbury’s have stolen a march on rivals after announcing that they will be cutting VAT on non-food lines on Friday – a full weekend ahead of the Government’s Monday deadline for retailers.

The supermarket giants are implementing the cut on applicable lines in home entertainment, clothing and electrical goods.

Waitrose parent John Lewis is also moving early to implement the 2.5% cut, which was unveiled by Chancellor Alistair Darling in his pre-Budget report earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Tesco upped the ante further by announcing price cuts on a further 1,000 products.

“We know that many families will start their Christmas shopping this weekend as pay packets arrive and we don't want customers to miss out on the cut in VAT [that] comes in on Monday,” said Tesco commercial director Richard Brasher.

A spokesman for John Lewis said: “Our priority is to ensure that our customers will always pay the right price – we are working round the clock putting systems in place from tonight which will guarantee that the process is completed as swiftly as possible.”