Ben Hayward October 21st

The Co-op is to slash prices on hundreds of essential goods by an average of 15% this week in preparation for a Christmas season that will see many shoppers having to tighten their belts.

The community retailer is investing £50m to reduce the price of over 300 branded and own-label products, including basics such as rice, pasta and coffee.

It will also be introducing a new low-price ‘Honest Value’ range for shoppers on a budget, whose 50 items will include British meat, soft drinks, fruit and vegetables.

Chief executive of the Co-op’s food stores, Jo Whitfield, said: “Value is uppermost in the minds of shoppers.”

The move comes as supermarkets attempt to win over more budget-conscious shoppers whose finances are strained due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

Limits on household mixing, concerns over the end of the furlough scheme and rising unemployment are likely to mean that most families will be ‘less indulgent’ in their food spending in the run up to Christmas, according to Richard Lim from Retail Economics. 

He added that over a third (36%) of shoppers expect to cut back on their festive spending, while just 12% expect to spend more than last year.

It has been suggested that a general lowering of prices at major supermarkets is also part of a concerted effort to avoid repeating mistakes of the last recession when discount brands such as Aldi and Lidl, took substantial numbers of customers from other retailers.

As they likelihood of greater restrictions and lockdowns increases, supermarkets are also trying to win over shoppers who may be cautious about heading to stores while also preparing or increased demand due to the closure of hospitality venues in many areas of the country. 

Mr Lim said: “It is going to be incredibly challenging to deal with the levels of demand given the restrictions in place because of Covid-19. The tactic is to build up a bit of loyalty ahead of Christmas.”

TOTUM members get 10% discount evrytime they shop in store at the Co-op, and you can now do your Co-op shop online and get it delivered to you in as little as 30 minutes with Deliveroo.

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