May 11, 2012 / 2:58 PM / 6 years ago

Marks & Spencer targets rivals with value brand

LONDON (Reuters) - Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) has become the latest British food retailer to revamp its own-label ranges with a shake-up of its value lines designed to encourage customers do more of their weekly shop at the firm.

A branch of retail store Marks & Spencer is seen in central London April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

M&S, the UK’s seventh largest food retailer by market share, said on Friday it will launch a “Simply M&S” range of everyday food products and kitchen ingredients on Saturday.

The new range, which replaces the “Wise Buys” label, consists of 500 lines, rising to 800 in the autumn, including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, eggs, milk and store cupboard products.

M&S said “hundreds of prices” had been lowered and will be independently checked by to ensure they are competitive with rivals, particularly with J Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) “basics” and Waitrose’s JLP.UL “essentials” own-brand value ranges.

“On the like-for-like comparison 85 percent of this range is equally priced or cheaper than Waitrose,” said a spokeswoman for M&S.

Last month Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain’s largest supermarket chain, ditched its “Tesco Value” range, replacing it with “Everyday Value”.

Earlier this month Waitrose extended its price match guarantee on branded grocery products with Tesco.

Shares in M&S were up 3.1 percent at 1443 GMT, valuing the business at 5.76 billion pounds ($9.3 billion). ($1 = 0.6188 British pounds)

Reporting by James Davey

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