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Food prices to fall in supermarket war

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Grocery shoppers could soon be getting more for their money as supermarkets gear up for the latest instalment of a raging price war in the sector.

Analysts expect Asda to be the next major player to pull the trigger following Morrisons' announcement of its latest round of cost cuts on Sunday, with selected meat and poultry prices slashed by 12%.

The move marks Morrisons' second post-Brexit price reduction after cutting prices on more than 1,000 products by an average of 18% at the start of August.

It has prompted speculation over a fresh price war between major supermarkets Morrisons - which does not operate in Northern Ireland - Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and discount grocers like Lidl.

"The next in line to cut prices significantly will be Asda," Nicla Di Palma, an equity analyst at Brewin Dolphin, said.

"They have been a big market share loser in the past 18 months and Walmart, the parent company, have deep pockets and will want to invest in prices."

Asda's market share was last calculated at around 15.5%, compared to Morrisons at 10.5%, Sainsbury's at 16% and Tesco around 28%.

The discount grocer's new CEO, Sean Clarke, may embark on a "sophisticated strategy" involving a "big refresh" of existing stores and products - but cost cuts will be a faster-acting cure, Ms Di Palma said.

Asda last month reported its worst quarterly performance on record, posing a 7.5% fall in like-for-like sales, but it has continued to grow its market share in Northern Ireland.

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