Asda narrowly pipped Morrisons to the cheapest basket for our premium Christmas shopping list, but it was ultimately undercut by Tesco’s loyalty-based pricing – despite coming in £20 cheaper than the UK’s biggest grocer.
At £154.41 Asda was £2.61 cheaper than Morrisons, offering the lowest price for 20 items and was exclusively cheapest for eight, including festive favourites Baileys, mulled wine, pigs in blankets and Bacofoil roasting foil. And month on month the Asda basket was more than 10% cheaper.
Morrisons went one further. Its £157.02 basket was the only one cheaper year on year, the cost of the items falling 7.7%, as well as being 10.3% cheaper month on month. And it was exclusively cheapest for seven items including the Christmas pudding, panettone, Shloer juice drink and turkey crown.
Sainsbury’s was £16.91 more expensive than Asda, with its £171.32 up 14.2%, the most of any retailer, though it was cheapest for five items and exclusively so for the parsnips and maris piper potatoes. Sainsbury’s carried Nectar Prices deals on 14 products, which would have given its loyalty scheme members an instant £10.82 discount and narrowed the gap to Asda to £6.09.
However it was Tesco’s Clubcard that had the biggest impact. At £175.09, it was £20.68 more expensive than Asda, but 11 Clubcard Prices added up to a saving of £23.95 – for a total of £151.14 – £3.27 cheaper than Asda. For those shopping at Tesco without a Clubcard, it was still exclusively cheapest for the Christmas crackers and brussels sprouts.
At £211.49 upmarket retailer Waitrose was a whopping £57.08 more expensive than Asda. It was exclusively cheapest for just one item – the Innocent orange juice – and only matched the lowest price for two others.
Given the festive nature of our shopping list, it was not surprising to see plenty of deal activity across the board. Between all five retailers there were deals on 40% of the products on our list.
This helps explain why year-on-year inflation was just 5.6% and why prices were down 6.2% compared to last month. In the case of Asda and Morrisons the month-on-month savings were more than 10%. The Morrisons basket On the other hand year on year inflation at both Sainsbury’s and Waitrose was 14.2% and 11.1%.