The Co-op has today slashed the price of several essential items as it goes head-to-head with the big four grocers and aims to entice shoppers under financial pressure as they await January payday.

The Co-op, which has 2,800 stores, has cut prices on products including milk, eggs and bread in a promotion that will conclude on Sunday. Rival Asda offers long-term low-price deals on essential items through its Price Lock campaign.

The Co-operative Food customer director Andrew Mann said: “January is notoriously tough for British shoppers, as payday seems a long way off, and Christmas is still being paid for.

“We kicked off the month with a January Sale, which included a wide range of half-price offers, and an extremely attractive voucher scheme, which rewarded customers who spent £20 or more. Now we want to make life easier for Co-operative customers as they inch towards that longed-for first payday of the year.”

He added: “We are confident that saving them money on shopping basket staples such as bread, milk and eggs on key shopping days will definitely help ease the financial blues.”