Supermarket group Sainsbury’s is to launch its Brand Match price promise nationwide after testing the idea in Northern Ireland.

Brand Match will make its debut on the UK mainland next week, according to Panmure analyst Philip Dorgan.

The initiative comes as the big grocers battle it out for share of spend as consumers keep a tight hold on their purses. Last week, Tesco cut prices by £500m in its Big Price Drop campaign.

Sainsbury’s Brand Match, was has been tried out at 12 stores in Northern Ireland and is calculated at the till, entitles shoppers spending at least £20 to money-off coupons if the same items could have been bought for less at Asda or Tesco.

Dorgan said: “Whether this would have been launched so quickly in the UK if Tesco had not launched Price Drop, we don’t know.  But we did expect the other supermarkets to respond to Tesco and we expect that others will also follow, with the response being in line with what they think that their particular shoppers want.

We continue to believe that Tesco’s Price Drop does not mean that there will be a price war - margins will remain stable for the quoted operators - but it will impact profit growth and some of the non quoted operators, as well as, of course, Ocado will be hit harder.”