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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Giles Fallowfield

Asda, Safeway and Tesco have raised the stakes in the pre-Christmas Champagne price war by slashing their retail prices on the three biggest selling brands in the UK - Mot & Chandon Brut Imperial, Lanson Black Label and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. Asda has further upset Mot Hennessy UK by selling grey market' Dom Prignon for 50, 20 below the standard UK retail price. The Asda price for single bottles of Mot was cut by 5.50 to 14.97 at the start of December, in a promotion that will run until 6 January, 2002. Safeway, meanwhile, has knocked 5 off Lanson, reducing it to 13.99 from 2 December until 5 January 2002. Safeway had already cut the price of Mot by a fiver, to 15.99, between 13 October and 10 November, an offer which influenced Asda's promotion on Mot, as Asda buyer Sara Brook acknowledges. We assessed Mot's suggested Christmas offer - a discount to 17.99 per bottle - and didn't think it was strong enough for our customers,' said Brook, especially after Safeway had already sold it at 15.99.' She wouldn't comment on whether Asda made a profit selling Mot at 14.97. Dominic Mearing, Mot's UK sales director, said that Mot had not funded Asda's promotion. The retail price of Mot & Chandon at Asda is entirely Asda's decision. We are disappointed it did not accept our proposed Christmas promotional plan.' He also confirmed that Asda had sourced the Dom Prignon elsewhere. It hasn't bought any Dom Prignon from us this year.' Safeway's offers on Mot and Lanson were not funded by the brand owners either. Meanwhile Tesco, which is known to be irritated by Sainsbury's claims to sell more Champagne than Tesco, slashed Veuve Clicquot's price by 6.50, to 18.99, at the end of October, a price it will hold until 8 January 2002. During the week of November 19-25, when Tesco offered a 20% reduction on its entire Champagne range, Yellow Label was available for just 15.19, or 14.24 if customers bought six bottles or more.