A row has erupted after The Co-operative Group adopted an advertising slogan that is also used by Spar.

The Co-op Group's latest TV ad promotes salmon, potatoes and green beans with a voiceover that says: "Dinner for two for under five pounds - sorted."

The 'sorted' slogan has also been used in a series of Spar adverts that have been running on TV and posters for nearly a year.

The Grocer understands top brass at Spar have complained to The Co-op Group about its use of the word 'sorted'.

"To say the least, I was surprised when I saw The Co-op Group ad," said one Spar source. "It's being discussed at a fairly high level between us and them. My view is that it was probably an innocent mistake by The Co-op Group but it will be interesting to see what they do about it."

The situation is particularly sensitive because the two businesses are clear rivals in terms of their retail offer. To complicate matters further, they operate a buying alliance on own-label ambient and frozen products.

The Sorted campaign has been a success for Spar, particularly in Northern Ireland where Spar wholesaler and retailer Henderson Group has splashed the Sorted ads across buses, bus stops and even the headrests in aeroplanes. Henderson said the Sorted campaign had contributed to its 11% sales growth in 2008.