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Christmas sparkling price war begins

Published:  23 July, 2008

Sainsbury's and Tesco have both joined in the sub-10 Champagne price war, as predicted in our news feature on discounting champagne (see pp.23-24). Sainsbury's has slashed the single-bottle price of Etienne Dumont by 10 a bottle to 9.99 (until 29 November), or to 9.49 if you buy six bottles or more; and in a parallel move, Tesco has cut Andr Carpentier from 19.99 to 9.99, also 9.49 if you buy six bottles or more.

Tesco has also added a 3 discount on Mot Brut Imprial to its previously announced pre-Christmas Champagne offers, bringing the single-bottle price down to 19.98 (18.98 for six or more). This matches the deal on Mot at Asda, if not quite that at Somerfield, where the single-bottle price will be 18.79 (14 Dec-3 Jan).

Tesco's apparent preoccupation with the deals at Asda is further reflected in its new low price for its own-label Cava. Normally at 3.68, this was first cut to just 2.92 and has now been brought down further, to just 2.72 (at this stage until 29 November) - oddly enough, exactly matching Asda's reduction on its own-label Cava from 3.72 to 2.72, which started on 14 November and runs right through to 8 January 2006. Asda's further 10% discount on purchases of six bottles or more brings the Mot price down to 17.98 and its Cava to 2.45.

Tesco has two other half-price deals on sparkling wines due to run to 19 November, with Codornu Reserva Cava and Hardys Crest Pinot Noir/Chardonnay both down to 4.49 (4.27 for six bottles or more). Other new or soon-to-be-introduced Champagne deals include a 9.99 fizz supplied by Lanson at the Co-op (5 Dec-1 Jan), and 5 off the much-improved Piper Heidsieck NV, which is down to 13.99 over the same period. The Waitrose deal - which sees a third off the price of Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Premier Cru (from 20.99 to 13.99; due to open on 28 November and run to 8 January) - has been brought forward and is being highlighted on prime-time national TV.

The other major cuts on recognised brands currently known are on Heidsieck Monopole: down from 18.99 to 12.99 in Morrisons (14 Nov-Jan 1), and cut by 5 at both Somerfield (23 Nov-3 Jan) and Tesco (30 Nov-28 Dec) to 13.99 (a six-bottle price of 13.29).

Judging by the empty shelves at the Sainsbury's superstore

in Colliers Wood, the Etienne Dumont deal is going well, and buyer Julien Dyer confirmed as much. Dyer told Harpers that the supermarket had sold as much Etienne Dumont already as they did in the whole of Christmas week last year - Customers seem to have started buying earlier this year,' he said. As to how low prices might drop his only comment was: It's a very competitive market.'