Ocado has put up hundreds of prices on lines likely to be excluded from its new price-matching initiative.

A study by The Grocer of 8,518 food and drink lines not also stocked by Tesco shows Ocado has put up the price of 2,255 lines (27%) in the last 90 days, while lowering just 676 [BrandView.co.uk].

Ocado’s Low Price Promise covers brands stocked by both Tesco and Ocado, as well as Ocado own-label and Waitrose Essential lines with a Tesco equivalent.

Customers are sent a voucher for the difference plus a penny if the comparable lines would cost the same or less from tesco.com. Ocado began a trial in the North West on 2 August, and plans to take it nationwide.

Ocado CEO Tim Steiner robustly denied the increases were to fund the initiative.

“I can categorically deny the pricing team has been asked to increase the price of any product to fund this scheme, which is coming out of our gross margin.

“If any line has gone up, it is because either we are following the pricing of Tesco or Waitrose and they have moved the price up or, if the product is exclusive to us, the supplier has increased the price to us.”