Waitrose is to invest £100 million in cutting prices on hundreds of its own-brand products amid intense competition in the sector as consumers battle record inflation.
The upmarket grocer is reducing the prices of almost a third of its lowest-priced Essential Waitrose range by an average 14%, while almost a quarter of the cuts, which come into effect from Wednesday, will be 20% or more.
The supermarket’s announcement follows grocery price inflation hitting a record 16.7% in the four weeks to January 22 – the highest level since analysts Kantar started tracking the figure in 2008.
Households are now facing an extra £788 on their annual shopping bills if they do not change their behaviour to cut costs.
Competition in the British grocery sector “is as intense as it’s ever been” as retailers strive to retain shoppers, Kantar said.
Grocers have been boosting their own-label ranges especially, with sales of these lines growing consistently over the past nine months and by 9.3% in January – well ahead of branded alternatives which were up by just 1%.
Waitrose executive director James Bailey said: “We understand that getting value for money has never been more important for everyone. So we’re cutting the prices of hundreds of everyday favourites from carrots to butter, and tea and coffee, with many cut by 20% or more.”
The retailer said it was committed to maintaining its commitments to its farmers and suppliers despite the cuts to shelf prices.
Waitrose held 4.7% of the grocery market share to January 22.
Discounter Aldi was the fastest growing grocer for the fourth month in a row with sales 26.9% higher year-on-year to hold 9.2% of the market.
Lidl’s sales jumped by 24.1% putting its market share at 7.1%.