So the Tesco Panzers have launched an autumn blitzkrieg pricing offensive and Reichsleiter Brasher has fired the opening £500m salvo in the mother of all supermarket price wars.

So the Tesco Panzers have launched an autumn blitzkrieg pricing offensive and Reichsleiter Brasher has fired the opening £500m salvo in the mother of all supermarket price wars. Or is it? Actually, at times it is more like an episode of Dad’s Army rather than a war.

At the same time as this autumn offensive (handily timed for Christmas), a second front and ‘dirty war’ has opened up with the proponents of the Dark Arts (PR) launching a counter offensive via Twitter, which at times has been more like a playground spat rather than so-called communication professionals at work. In the manner of Dad’s Army, Sainsbury’s has taken on the mantle of the Sergeant Wilson (“Do you think that’s wise?”) and gone into complete denial about the price offensive calling it “smoke and mirrors”, hoping that their customers will not read about it in the Daily Mail.

Asda has adopted a ‘my dad is bigger than your dad’ taunt, which to be fair, if Walmart was my parent, I would be inclined to follow, and is goading Tesco to “bring it on” as they have heard it all before and they will still be 10% cheaper (allegedly) with their price guarantee.

Waitrose, while maintaining a dignified silence, has gone into Dad’s Army mode with Captain Mayfield calling Private Mark (don’t tell them your name, Pike) Price “stupid boy” for initiating the Tesco price match on 1,000 products, which will further erode the already under pressure Partnership’s profits. 

I would imagine Ocado have both Private Fraser and Lance Corporal Jones running around their corridors yelling “We’re doomed!”.

Meanwhile, Morrisons have adopted Private Godfrey’s mantra and “been excused” from the whole saga. The discounters maintain their stance as fifth columnists intent on bringing down the ruling national chains.

Is this the mother of all wars? The answer is no, this is just a battle, but Tesco does have plenty left in its armoury to mount a full-scale war.

  • Jamie Zuppinger, Co-founder and joint managing director, Barracuda Search