Sainsbury’s has won the right to a judicial review in its battle to prove that archrival Tesco’s ‘Price Promise’ is misleading.

Sainsbury’s complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about Tesco’s campaign which claimed that its products were cheaper than equivalent products at its rivals. It said that the ‘Price Promise’ did not compare like for like products because Sainsbury’s were superior or had been ethically sourced.

In July last year the ASA ruled that Tesco’s campaign was fair but Sainsbury’s disputed the ruling and last week the High Court ruled there were grounds for a judge to review the decision. 

The ruling comes as the UK’s grocers are set to embark on a price war to attract cost-conscious shoppers.

There will now be a hearing into the claims in about six months. 

Sainsbury’s commercial director, and chief executive designate, Mike Coupe said: “We do not believe it is fair to compare own-label products of different supermarkets. Our customers value our values. We strongly believe the quality of our own-label products is better than the immediate competition and this is a position we will fight strongly to protect.  Values are fundamental to the way we do business and drive everything we do. We know these values matter to our customers and we will do everything in our power to ensure they can make informed choices about what they buy.””

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We know how much customers appreciate the confidence Price Promise gives them when they shop at Tesco.  Now that permission for the Judicial Review has been granted, we will robustly defend the way we make fair comparisons between products based on what matters to customers, which has already been approved by the ASA and the Independent Reviewer.”

  • Meanwhile it has emerged that Tesco is one of the front-runners to buy the Co-operative Group’s up-for-sale pharmacy business. Other major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Asda are expected to eye the business as securing more pharmacy licences would enable them to build out further into the lucrative market for cosmetics, skincare and personal health. The Co-op is expected to raise around £600m from the sale of the business.