Apr 22, 2014
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Tesco launches new round of price cuts in battle with discounters

Apr 22, 2014

London, UK - Britain's biggest retailer Tesco has launched another round of price cuts on basic food products and reduced online shopping charges as it attempts to stem a loss of market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Last week Chief Executive Philip Clarke vowed to win back shoppers with millions of pounds of price cuts after Tesco posted a second straight year of falling profits.

In common with Britain's three other leading grocers - Wal-Mart's Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons - Tesco has been hit on two fronts, by the discount chains and by Waitrose and Marks & Spencer at the premium end of the market.

Monthly industry data, published April 8, showed Tesco's UK market share had shrunk to 28.6 percent, its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Tesco said on Tuesday it had cut prices on over 30 popular food products. For example a 420 gram can of Tesco branded baked beans is cut by 13 pence to 32 pence, an 800 gram loaf of Tesco branded wholemeal bread is reduced by 15 pence to 75 pence and a pack of six Tesco salad tomatoes is cut by 31 pence to 69 pence.

The firm also said one-hour home delivery slots would now be available for 1 pound ($1.68) compared with the previous charge of at least 3 pounds, while click & collect grocery - where customers order online and pick-up from over 260 UK locations - would now be free compared with at least 2 pounds before.

A spokeswoman for Tesco declined to say if the latest round of price cuts forms part of the 200 million pounds ($336 million) the firm said in February it would invest in lower prices or part of the unquantified "big and bold plan" Clarke talked about last Wednesday.

Tesco also said in February it would spend about 200 million pounds on a fuel savings scheme for holders of its Clubcard loyalty card.

Shares in Tesco, down 21 percent over the last year, were up 0.6 percent at 291.6 pence at 10.01 GMT.

The firm's rivals are also cutting prices. Morrisons said in March it would invest 1 billion pounds in price cuts over three years to win back customers, while Asda said last year it would spend 1 billion pounds over five years.

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