Can Waitrose maintain premium positioning as it takes on Tesco?

waitroseWaitrose, a well-established U.K. supermarket, has recently started advertising a price promise. This may seem unremarkable—a supermarket communicating its low prices—but this isn’t any supermarket. Waitrose is a premium-positioned chain, better known for advertising its food credentials. And this isn’t just any price promise: It’s a promise to match 1,000 prices at Tesco, one of the lower-priced supermarkets in the U.K. This seems to be a reaction to shoppers trading down to cheaper rivals in the current climate. But is it a disastrous step if Waitrose wishes to maintain a premium position?

Perhaps not. They’re offering to match prices on 1,000 branded goods. This is an interesting choice. I’m immediately reassured that quality isn’t going to suffer. And if the quality is good, and prices are lower than before, I can’t think of many people who’ll grumble. This may give Waitrose customers reassurance that their supermarket offers good value, and perhaps even make consumers who previously considered Waitrose too pricey reconsider their options.

Photo Credit: http://www.waitrose.com

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