A war of words among Britain's biggest food retailers heated up Wednesday after the country's advertising regulator ruled that certain ads for Asda, a grocery chain owned by US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, were misleading and shouldn't appear in their current form.
The ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) followed complaints made in June by supermarket giant Tesco PLC and Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC about Asda's "price guarantee" ads, which Asda launched last April. The print and TV ads offered customers their money back if Asda wasn't cheaper than its competitors.
"We told Asda to ensure their ads did not suggest their price guarantee applied to all items, including non-grocery items and items that were specifically excluded, or that their savings claims referred to shopping generally rather than specific items, if that was not the case," the ASA said.
Asda's original guarantee offered to refund shoppers the difference if they could find their groceries cheaper elsewhere.
The chain stepped up the campaign last month, offering to refund the difference if it was not at least 10 per cent cheaper than rivals.
Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer, welcomed the ASA ruling, and urged it to reach a similar decision on its complaint about Asda's latest price guarantee. Wm Morrison Supermarkets had also complained about Asda's original price guarantee.
Asda, Britain's second-biggest supermarket group, said it was pleased that several of the detailed complaints about its price guarantee had not been upheld.