It would have been hard for Tesco’s Big Price Drop to live up to the hype that built up before its launch.

It would have been hard for Tesco’s Big Price Drop to live up to the hype that built up before its launch. It certainly proved the power of social media to force even the biggest of companies to bring forward announcements. But one week on, has it made any material change to the grocery world?

When standards of living are under the intense pressure they are now, price is a vital element of a retailer’s armoury. As the largest player in the market, it makes sense for Tesco to flex its muscles by cutting prices.

The way it’s done it – moving away from promotions towards lower prices every day – fits in with shoppers’ mood. Consumers have come to expect loads of promotions, but what they really want is certainty on what the items they buy every week will cost. The downside is loyal Tesco shoppers will miss double Clubcard points.

Tesco’s UK business is a formidable machine, but that means it has to work even harder to shore up its market share and remind the customer it’s on their side. Philip Clarke recognised when he took over that it had lost some of its sparkle in the UK, but while the Big Price Drop is a start, it won’t change the game.

Being competitive on price is vital, but it’s only part of the equation shoppers use to choose where they buy their groceries. While the hardest hit will turn to the discounters because the limited assortment helps them manage their budget, it’s notable that those big grocers which are doing the best aren’t the cheapest. Even in tough times, the product and the experience matter too.

A slur on retail

Well done to furniture retailer ScS for pursuing its complaint about the Channel 4 show Mary Portas: Secret Shopper to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Its verdict on the programme this week was damning.

It alleged ScS encouraged people to commit the crime of insurance fraud when there was no evidence it had done so. It accused ScS of not having “the balls” to take part when it hadn’t even been invited to. And it gave ScS just 24 hours to respond to the accusations against it even though the footage was filmed 10 weeks prior.

Portas is making all the right noises with her high street review, but her last series was a disgraceful slur on our industry and the people who work in it. It had better not be recommissioned.