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Tesco discounts up to 200 items in 'Clubcard Prices' promo – but do the deals stack up?

Tesco discounts up to 200 items in 'Clubcard Prices' promo – but do the deals stack up?

Tesco's Clubcard Prices promo, first revealed by MoneySavingExpert.com last month, has now launched and is offering members of the loyalty scheme discounts between 15% and 50%, with a total of nearly 200 items to be reduced.

We were first to report that Tesco will run the 'Clubcard Prices' offer from Tuesday 7 May to Sunday 26 May, based on internal documents shared with us. It's understood to be the first time a major UK supermarket has offered reduced prices at the checkout to all members of its loyalty scheme.

Now the scheme's launched, with discounts offered in-store and online on about 200 items ranging from coffee, crisps and pet food to televisions, BBQs and F&F clothing. And our analysis shows the offers do generally beat the best prices at other stores, though it's always worth doing your own comparison before you buy.

We've full info on how it works below, including:

Find out how to make the most of your Clubcard with our Reclaim & Boost Tesco Vouchers guide. Also see 34 Supermarket Shopping Tips and Top Supermarket Loyalty Credit Cards.

Martin: 'Tesco has been eyeing Amazon Prime'

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "While at first glance this may seem like a simple discounting promotion from Tesco, I've a suspicion it may be an attempt to trial a much larger change to its rewards-based movement.

"Tesco's dominance within the supermarket world was built on its Clubcard rewards scheme and it's certainly the one that's been the most lucrative for those that know how to use it right. But this latest step may in the long run herald the end of its well-loved points-based reward scheme.

"It's interesting to note that many times before we've seen substantive price reductions given by big supermarkets over a range of goods. This is the first time though that I can remember Tesco only doing a reduction for Clubcard holders.

"That means this could signal Tesco effectively saying: 'We're a member's organisation, you've got to play our game and give us your data or we won't give you the cheapest prices.'

"It's no secret that many firms want to emulate what Amazon Prime has done (see my Amazon Prime pure profit genius blog). Even though – and in fact because – Amazon charges for Prime, people feel more engaged and are more likely to use it as a single point of shopping.

"Those people who pay for Amazon Prime tend to spend far more at Amazon than others. All companies want that and this may be Tesco dipping its toe in the water and saying: 'We're going to start to operate as if we're a membership club too.'

"Exactly how that'll pan out may well depend on the success of this promotion. But when you're going in happy that you're a Tesco Clubcard customer and getting 50% off a product, ask yourself: 'Surely in the past, it just gave discounts to everybody – what does Tesco want from me that it didn't want before?'"

How to get Clubcard Prices

Tesco Clubcard holders just need to buy items as normal and scan their Clubcard at the till for a discount to be automatically applied. If you're shopping online, the discount will be added at the checkout stage and shown on your receipt. There is no limit on the number of discounted items you can buy in one go.

Customers who don't have a Clubcard can get the discounts by downloading the app and registering. The briefing document we saw suggested that if you have a Clubcard but have forgotten it, it may be worth asking for the discount anyway as checkout staff can honour it as a "one-off" to avoid customers leaving the store "having had a bad experience".

Which stores are taking part?

Tesco's now confirmed that ALL its stores across the UK, including smaller ones such as Express and Metro stores, will be participating in the promo. (The T&Cs for the promotion state that it will be available at "selected" stores, but this appears not to be the case.)

However, it's worth noting you won't find every deal at every Tesco supermarket – items are only reduced where they're normally stocked in the store, and so some discounts (such as those on clothing) won't be found in smaller stores.

It's also worth noting that while the percentage discount on items is the same across all Tesco stores and online, items which are usually more expensive in Tesco Express stores will still be more expensive after the discount's applied.

A sample of the deals – and how they stack up

Tesco says that nearly 200 items are being discounted in total over the course of the promo, though it may change week-to-week. You'll have to visit your local store to see exactly which offers it's running, though Tesco's website has a list of current Clubcard Prices available online.

In total, we've so far seen 36 confirmed Clubcard Prices for 32 items (some items have a different price in Express stores). This is just a sample of the discounted prices released by Tesco (plus some we've seen online), so we don't know if it's representative of the promo as a whole. But when we compared these prices with rival supermarkets on Tuesday 7 May, we found:

  • Nearly all the Clubcard Prices WERE good deals – with items cheaper than at rivals. In fact, just one item we checked could be bought for less elsewhere – a 100g jar of Nescafé Alta Rica instant coffee is £2.50 for Clubcard holders in Tesco Express stores, but just £2.25 in Waitrose.

    In all other cases where we could compare prices, Tesco was cheaper than rivals after the Clubcard discount – though several items were just a penny less, so it was very tight.

  • Many discounted items are Tesco own-brand – and rivals' own-brands may be cheaper. 17 of the 32 items we've seen prices for are Tesco own-brand, which makes it impossible to do a direct comparison with other supermarkets – items like Tesco own-brand crisps and Tesco own-brand BBQ tools are exclusive to Tesco.

    However, it's worth noting that if you're happy to go with another supermarket's own-brand alternative – which won't be identical – you may still be able to beat Clubcard prices, particularly in budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl.

    For example, you can get nine rolls of toilet roll in Lidl for £2.09, whereas nine rolls of Tesco Luxury soft toilet tissue is £3.35 with the discount in Tesco Express.

To give you an idea of the discounts available, here are 12 of those we've seen:

Tesco Clubcard Prices – are the offers worth it?

Item Usual Tesco price Clubcard Price Discount Cheapest we found elsewhere
In Tesco superstores
Grill Chef by Landmann three-burner BBQ  £200 £100 50% N/A
Heinz tomato ketchup 250g £1.20 £0.60 50% Asda – £1
Nescafé espresso instant coffee 100g £4.49 £2.24 50% Waitrose - £2.25
F&F light shower resistant jacket £29.99 £21.75 25% N/A
In Tesco Express stores
Nescafé Alta Rica instant coffee 100g £5 £2.50 50% Waitrose – £2.25
Lipton Ice Tea peach flavour 1.25L £1.75 £1.16 33% Ocado – £1.59
Tesco Luxury soft toilet tissue (nine rolls) £3.95 £3.35 15% N/A
Tesco Finest lightly salted crisps 150g £1 £0.85 15% N/A
Online
Maltesers Gift Box 360g £3 £2.55 15% Poundstretcher - £2.99
Buxton Natural Mineral Water Still 6 X 1.5L £3 £2 33% Asda - £3
Tesco Olive Oil 1L £3.60 £3.06 15% N/A
Tesco Landmann stainless steel tongs £6 £3 50% N/A

Based on offers we've seen so far. Some offers may be available via more than one route (eg, in Tesco superstores and online).

It's important to bear in mind the examples above are a small sample of the nearly 200 deals, so you'll need to check for yourself how deals stack up. Remember, NEVER assume something's a good deal just because it's discounted. 

Is a wider roll-out likely to follow?

The promo has been billed as a one-off to celebrate Tesco's 100th birthday, and at the moment there's no specific indication it's a pilot for a wider scheme. But it comes amid rumblings that Tesco is changing tack on its loyalty scheme.

Two weeks ago, The Sunday Times reported that Tesco had trialled giving Clubcard holders extra discounts on 20 randomly-selected groceries for a week at 50 stores.

And there have been other reports that Tesco is looking longer term at introducing an Amazon-style loyalty scheme, which would give shoppers greater incentives to sign up to the company's other products, such as its bank and mobile phone services.

We've asked Tesco about these reports, but it hasn't confirmed anything.