Tesco is attempting to derail the launch of Asda Direct – which will sell furniture, clothing and electricals online and through a 644-page catalogue – by claiming Tesco Direct is “faster and cheaper” than its rival’s new business. The Asda Direct website went live this week and three million copies of the catalogue are being sent to stores in the coming weeks.

The move prompted Tesco, which launched Tesco Direct two years ago, to post a message on its own website claiming it was “faster and cheaper than Argos and Asda” with delivery charges from £4.85. Asda Direct will initially sell 9,000 non-food items including cameras, sporting goods and a DIY range. Asda CEO Andy Bond said he would eventually like to sell a range of 750,000 products, including books, CDs and DVDs.