Morrison to Join Tesco With Further Asda Complaint to Watchdog

William Morrison Supermarkets Plc, the U.K.’s fourth-largest supermarket chain, said it plans to follow Tesco Plc and complain about new advertisements by Asda, the grocery chain owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

The Advertising Standards Authority said today that an earlier Asda campaign promising cheaper prices than its major competitors was misleading and told the retailer not to repeat the ads in their current form. Asda started running new ads on Jan. 31, promising to be cheaper by 10 percent.

“Morrison will be making further challenges to the ASA on the Asda adverts,” Morrison spokesman Richard Taylor said by phone in London today. “We will be focusing particularly on the individual details of the ads going forward, challenging specific claims that they make,” he said. Tesco has already lodged a complaint with the advertising watchdog, spokesman Trevor Datson said.

The earlier campaign began last April. The latest Asda advertisements guarantee shopping will be 10 percent cheaper at Asda compared with rivals such as Morrison, J Sainsbury Plc and Tesco or it will refund the difference.

The ruling the ASA released today upheld several complaints by Morrison and Tesco about Asda’s earlier TV and press campaign.

Asda said it was “delighted,” noting that five of nine complaints weren’t upheld by the ASA. It said the price guarantee is “one of the easiest and best ways for shoppers to compare the cost of their groceries.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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