LONDON (FNS) -- ASDA, Leeds, England, the U.K.'s fourth-largest food retailer, has reinforced its low-price image by including for the first time 800 food items in its annual January sale.
woman said. Overall, the ASDA sale covers 2,000 products, mainly in its home and leisure categories.
The sale began Jan. 4 and will end Jan. 13. It covers all of ASDA's 223 stores.The food sale follows ASDA's announcement in September that it was freezing prices on 12,000 food items for four months to the end of January.
The spokeswoman said the retailer then will make a decision on whether to extend the freeze. "The sale signals our intention to continue to deliver the best prices in 1999," the spokeswoman said.
There has been speculation by analysts that 1999 could see a price war break out among major U.K. food retailers, which continue to face an environment of tight government planning controls on store openings and extremely low food-price inflation. In addition, the industry is under pressure from a government investigation into its prices after continual media coverage that U.K. food prices tend to be significantly higher than those in the United States and continental Europe.
ASDA has been the most successful of the major U.K. food retailers at promoting its low-price image. Its constant emphasis on Best Value is one reason there have been recent reports that Wal-Mart might buy the chain to enable it to enter the U.K. market.