• Just 12% of shoppers think Tesco’s prices have fallen this year
  • A fifth of consumers believe the grocer’s rices have increased
  • Only 18% of people polled said they were now shopping more at Tesco
  • Results of poll by ICM will come as a blow to boss Dave Lewis

Tesco’s investment in price has failed to resonate with consumers during the past year, according to the results of a new survey.

Only 12% of grocery shoppers said Tesco’s prices had dropped during the past 12 months.

An ICM poll conducted exclusively for Retail Week revealed that 20% of customers thought Tesco’s prices had increased, while 41% said they had stayed the same. The remaining 27% of shoppers said they didn’t know.

In a similar study carried out last February, 22% of shoppers said they thought Tesco’s prices had dropped during the past year, while a quarter believed they had risen.

When asked to compare Tesco’s prices with the discounters, this year’s poll suggested that only 6% of shoppers thought the grocer was cheaper than rivals Aldi and Lidl.

Almost two thirds of consumers (64%) said Tesco was more expensive and 16% believed its prices were about the same as the discounters.

Price investment

The perception of Tesco’s prices will come as a blow to chief executive Dave Lewis, who has been bidding to regain competitiveness within the grocer’s core UK business as a key pillar of his strategy.

Improvements have been made in product quality, customer service and availability, but investment into price has also become a crucial element of his turnaround plan.

During the past 12 months, Tesco has launched seven entry-level Farms brands to better compete with the discounters across the fruit, vegetable, meat and poultry categories.

The supermarket giant also launched its Brand Guarantee initiative, which gives shoppers instant discounts at the till if their branded grocery shop would have been cheaper at any of its big four rivals.

Lewis has suggested that more consumers are buying more goods, more often at Tesco, but just 18% of the 2,002 people who took part in the ICM poll said they were currently shopping more often with the retailer than they were a year ago.

More than a quarter (26%) of shoppers said they were shopping at Tesco less, while 42% said they visited the grocer the same amount. Just over one in ten consumers (13%) said they never shopped at Tesco.

Almost one in five people (17%) said customer service levels in stores had dropped over the past year, while only 11% thought they had improved.