Morrisons has revived three-for-£10 deals on big-brand wines - and upset some shoppers who left stores empty-handed.

Three-for-£10 was last offered by a big four retailer in January, when Asda said it was abandoning the mechanic in favour of everyday low prices. suppliers have long argued such deals are unsustainable, claiming there is no margin in them and that rising duty has put them beyond reach for producers.

But over the Bank Holiday weekend, Morrisons ran three-for-£10 on eight wines from brands including Blossom Hill, Gallo Family, Wolf Blass and Campo Viejo.

The retailer told The Grocer the bank holiday was a time customers looked for “great value wines to celebrate the extra day off with family and friends”. It would not confirm whether the deal was a one-off or would be part of an ongoing promotional strategy.

The promotion was advertised in the national press and originally slated to run from 22 May to 1 June, but ended on Monday 26 May. As early as 23 May, shoppers complained about stores running out of stock, with one Facebook user commenting the deal was “just a ploy to lure you into the store”. Morrisons this week admitted the end date had been brought forward due to availability issues.

Industry insiders said it was likely Morrisons had funded the three-for-£10 promotion itself, with one suggesting the brands involved may have been unaware of the activity until it was made public.

Morrisons was aggressively trying to raise its profile and get people in store, said Robin Copestick, MD of wine supplier Copestick Murray. “We haven’t seen the back of three-for-£10 if it is successful,” he added. “What concerns me is if it starts filtering down to wine producers who cannot afford to support these kinds of deals.” Morrisons last week announced it was halving the number of wines sold online and cutting wines in store by nearly 10% to make its offer “more appropriate” for its consumers