Waitrose marketing chief on price match push

Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas says the supermarket’s vow to match Tesco prices on a 1000 branded goods is about varying its message to push price in addition to its quality credentials.

Waitrose launched “brand price match” on Monday (28 September) with a “heavyweight” TV, press, outdoor and email campaign. It will match Tesco’s prices on 1,000 branded goods in a move costing £26 million.

Thomas told Marketing Week that the price match is to reassure customers that they can do all their shopping at the supermarket and about 60% of its branded goods will be included in the scheme.

“For us it builds on the success of Essential Waitrose, which now makes up more than 17% of sales. Brand price match is in some ways a natural extension of that, to extend our appeal further,” Thomas says.

He admits that is difficult to get the balance between price and quality right.

“We think there is more to value than just price, we think it’s around balancing equality and price and that is a formula that every retailer will treat slightly differently. Part of my job is to make sure we get that absolutely right for our customers,” he says.

Thomas adds that the move is part of the brand’s ambitious plans. “We are a very ambitious brand and are now in parts of the country that are new to us and where we don’t have such a track record.

“As much as we strengthen our quality credentials we think it is important to reassure on price,” he says.

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