Asda borrowed one of rival Sainsbury’s advertising catchphrases at the weekend, declaring “Good food costs less at Asda”.

The phrase “Good food costs less at Sainsbury’s” was coined by Lord Sainsbury in the 1950s. Asda took out full-page advertisements in broadsheet Sunday newspapers at the weekend with its catchline, promoting its revamped premium lines.

Sainsbury’s customer director Gwyn Burr told The Times: “As they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but it looks like they’ve run out of fresh ideas and are getting a bit desperate. Maybe all they want for Christmas is a new ad agency.”

An Asda spokesman said it was drawing attention to its Extra Special premium lines, which have recently been relaunched and it is Britain’s best value shop, so “that’s why good food really does cost less at Asda”.

Experts told the paper that it was the first time in the recession that Asda had emphasised the quality of goods, rather than its ‘Every day low prices’ message. Last week Asda  joined its rivals in cutting the price of Champagne.

The move follows Tesco last week saying that sales of its Finest range have begun rising again.