Asda attacks Morrisons in TV Wash War

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Asda has turned on its closest rival - Morrisons. The Walmart backed grocery giant has single-mindedly attacked Morrisons in a TV ad on the price of a well-known laundry detergent.

Though Morrisons has made show of recent price-cutting, Asda contest that some of Morrisons 'deals' aren't lasting the distance. Does Asda have a clean-cut case here?

Bold claims

The ad in question, tagged 'Spot the Difference', concerns the price of Bold's 2in1 Gel Lavender & Camomile 888ml degertgent, priced at £6.40 at Morrisons but £4 at Asda. Morrisons had previously sold the detergent at £4 for several weeks. But Asda has stuck to the £4 price since mid September.

Kantar Retail spokesperson Bryan Roberts told the Grocer the spat between the two retailers - both with strong roots in the North of England - had been bought on by a "strong degree of regionalism in the UK grocery sector. "Bearing this in mind, competitive actions by Morrisons will impact Asda given their geographic overlap. The Morrisons deals might well be luring shoppers away from Asda."

Special case?

Morrisons has been selling tins of traditionally popular Christmas chocolates such as Roses and Quality Street - two for £7. It's too soon to know how successful the strategy is, though clearly Asda is rattled. However Morrisons sales in the 12 weeks to 10 November increased at 1.5%, substantially higher than the +0.8% spurt seen by Asda.

Can Asda claim special pleading - that some Morrisons deals are questionable against its own offers? Not really. The Consumers' Association recently attacked all major supermarkets, including Asda, for selling products with dodgy discounts and misleading multibuys.

"We...found some misleading multibuys in Asda," reported Which? "which didn't save customers any money or, in some cases ended up costing more. The supermarket increased the regular price of Muller Light Greek Style Yoghurt (4 x 120g) from £1.50 to £2.18 as it went on a "2 for £4" offer, costing shoppers £1 more."

"Dodgy Discounts"

Which? went on: "It also increased the regular price of Uncle Ben's Express Basmati rice (250g) from £1 to £1.58 as it went on a "2 for £3" offer and then returned the rice to £1 when the offer ended."

Which? want the government to make new rules on supermarket 'offers', with clearer, simpler guidelines, backed up enforcement muscle if the rules are broken.

"We've found dodgy discounts across the aisles," says Which? chief exec Richard Lloyd, "and with rising food prices hitting shoppers' budgets hard we think supermarkets are not playing fair. The stores have had long enough to sort their act out, so we're saying enough is enough, it's time to Make Special Offers Special."

AOL Money asked both Morrisons and Asda if they supported this new Which campaign. We'll update when we receive their answers.

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