Supermarkets have been accused by a national newspaper of making “millions” and employing the best retail brains in the land but “have yet to grasp stock control”.

The condemnation follows this week’s Grocer 33 shopping basket survey which failed to provide a single full basket.

The Daily Express has picked up on our weekly survey highlighting price variations of 33 standard food and household items from store to store and region to region of the country.

It said that our study revealed that out of stocks are “one of the most annoying problems that shoppers face in the run-up to christmas”.

Tesco told the paper: “Only last month we we announced an extra 5,000 jobs dedicated to getting products onto shelves more quickly.”

While Sainsbury said it was working on a new “inventory system” to react to low stocks in time to stop them running out.

Editor of The Grocer, Julian Hunt, said: “The record on availability has not improved over the last year.

"It is all the more astonishing in the light of the fact that so much attention is now being paid by the industry to the whole issue of instore availability.”