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By James Davey
LONDON (Reuters) - British supermarket group Sainsbury's, seeking an edge amid a worsening cost of living crisis, will for the first time include its biggest selling lines in a scheme that matches the prices of German-owned discounter Aldi.
Pessimism among Britain's households has hit unprecedented levels as wages struggle to keep pace with inflation that reached 9% in April and is heading for double digits.
To try to deter cash-strapped shoppers from switching to discounters Aldi and Lidl, Sainsbury's, Britain's No. 2 grocer, and market leader Tesco have schemes that match Aldi's prices on some products.
Sainsbury's said on Wednesday its top 20 highest volume items would now be price-matched to Aldi.
Other changes to the scheme, launched in February 2021, will see 150 of its highest volume fresh items included in a total of 250 price-matched products.
Sainsbury's said a focus will be on the key footfall drivers of meat and poultry. Over 60% more volume in these categories will be included in the scheme.
Other key items such as butter, onions, cauliflower and oven chips will also be included.
In total, over 6% of Sainsbury's total volume will now be price matched to Aldi.
Aldi declined to comment.
Sainsbury's move is part of its plan to spend 500 million pounds ($603 million) over the two years to March 2023 to keep a lid on prices.
Monthly industry data has shown Sainsbury's losing market share on a sales value basis.
However, Sainsbury's says it is raising prices less than its major peers and winning market share on a volume basis.
In April, both Tesco and Sainsbury's warned of lower profit this year.
Tesco will update on first quarter trading on Friday.
($1 = 0.8292 pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Mark Potter)