Waitrose boss Mark Price has warned that Britain’s biggest supermarkets could face disaster if the price war continues to escalate.

  • Mark Price says price war will “create difficulty” for some grocers
  • Price says supermarkets need to find “better ways” to attract shoppers
  • Waitrose launched Pick Your Own Offers scheme last month in bid to drive loyalty

Price said the relentless price war that has caused a seismic shift in the grocery sector as the big four bid to keep pace with Aldi and Lidl is damaging consumer choice.

And he believed it could ultimately lead to failure for some retailers, unless they focus on factors other than price to attract shoppers.

Price, who is also deputy chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose, told the Mail on Sunday: “Supermarkets are saying ‘if we drop our prices it’s all going to be OK again’. But the reality is people don’t eat more food because you drop your prices. If everybody keeps dropping their prices, it’s a zero sum game.

“My instinct is that there will be a moment when retailers will have to say: ‘We need to find a better way of attracting customers.’ Otherwise the moves down will create real difficulty for one or two players.

“Eventually you’ve got to find something else, realising the only way to win long term is to get customers trading up again or giving people another reason to come to your stores.”

Last month Waitrose launched its new Pick Your Own Offers initiative for myWaitrose card holders, designed to drive loyalty to the upmarket grocer.

The scheme allows customers to choose 10 items on which they will receive 20% off every time they shop at Waitrose.

At the launch of the initiative, Price said the intense price war that has gripped the grocery sector would end this year.  

Waitrose has managed to stave off the threat posed by the discounters and continued to grow market share in the UK, while its big four rivals, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, have all lost customers to the German duo.