Tesco today went head-to-head across channels with the newly enlarged Sainsbury’s [IRDX RSBR] group as it said it would match Christmas toy prices at Argos, now part of its rival grocer.
Tesco [IRDX RTSC], Britain’s biggest supermarket and a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said it would launch regular price-checking against Argos’ [IRDX RARG] toy range to ensure that its own customers get market-leading prices, both in store and online, in the run up to Christmas.
Matt Davies, chief executive of Tesco UK and Republic of Ireland, said: “We’ve done a lot already to serve our shoppers better, but we’re always looking to do more. We want to take the hard work out of Christmas shopping and help our customers get everything they need under one roof. That’s why we’re price checking against Argos on over 8,000 products including the most loved toys.”
That nod to the importance of shopping under one roof appears to respond to Sainsbury’s move to introduce digital format Argos stores into 30 branches in the run up to Christmas, and digital collection points into 200 of its own. The Sainsbury’s strategy is to make general merchandise shopping easier for supermarket visitors at the same time as they do their own grocery shop.
At the time of Sainsbury’s completion of the Argos deal, John Rogers, chief executive of Sainsbury’s Argos, said: “The way people shop is changing – customers expect choice, convenience, flexibility, fast delivery and to shop whenever and wherever they want.” He added: “Our customers will benefit from great quality products and services and fast delivery networks, so whether customers want home delivery, Click & Collect or to visit our stores, we will make it easy and convenient for them.”
Tesco is launching a 123 page toy catalogue, set to rival that produced by Argos each year, including activities to help children create wishlists ahead of Christmas. A pre-Christmas advert shows junior ‘toy testers’ checking out the range on offer Tesco supermarkets.
The focus on toy prices comes days after Tesco’s Davies warned that food price inflation, such as that recentl seen in Unilever’s bid to raise prices of its products by 10% could be “lethal” to struggling shoppers.
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