Tesco and Asda have both claimed they will help customers save millions of pounds this Christmas with a flurry of price cuts. Do the figures add up?

Why are we talking about it?

Tesco and Asda say their price cuts this Christmas will result in significant savings for customers. The former claims it will save the British public £250m; the latter says £150m over the festive period.

How are these figures calculated?

Asda has based its figure on the price gap that it claims exists between itself and its competitors, which it measured for six weeks using Mysupermarket.com. It calculated that if all customers had shopped the same basket at a rival store they would have had to spend a total of £50m more.

The retailer also took into account the savings shoppers stand to make from its in-store promotional events.

Tesco’s claims are based on the reductions it is making across its product lines. The retailer is cutting prices on bikes, toys and turkeys and offering deals on festive party staples such as alcohol and fruit.

In addition, customers will be awarded double Clubcard points this Christmas and sent vouchers they can use in stores.

Mintel director of retail research Richard Perks says: “These figures are probably an effort to grab some headlines and get publicity and if you’re going to spend money on marketing you might as well get value out of it. I imagine Asda and Tesco are thinking, how do I make this round of promotions more spectacular than the last?”

What does this mean for the customer?

While the consumer stands to make significant savings due to festive reductions across both grocers’ ranges, the amount the retailers say the consumer will save can be misleading, said Perks.

“These figures make it sound like so much money but it is frighteningly little in the context of the £100bn we spend on food,” he said. “There’s a place for cynicism when it comes to these kinds of things.

“The other thing is Tesco is more than twice the size of Asda, so although the figure is greater the price cuts are proportionally less.”

Although Christmas savings are heavily publicised, Perks questioned whether they were significantly different to those made outside the festive season. He said: “How different are these festive promotions to the ones retailers make throughout the rest of the year?

I don’t know whether customers will actually notice the difference in terms of savings.

“There are lots of savings to be made I’m sure, but I wonder if they are similar to others, except that there are Christmas carols playing and decorations in-store.”