As the retailing sector awaits the outcome of a landmark European Court case between supermarket giant Tesco and designer jeans manufacturer Levi-Strauss, other UK supermarkets were yesterday preparing to stock their Christmas shelves with cut-price designer products bought on the “grey market”.

Legal experts are largely confident that Tesco will win the case and hence be allowed to stock Levi’s jeans it has purchased in non-EU countries without the manufacturer’s consent. The ruling would also enable hundreds of other branded goods to be sold cheaply in the UK.

British consumers are currently paying much more than the rest of Europe for many designer goods, with prices around 30% higher than those in the US. Even the UK government is backing Tesco in the court case as part of its campaign against so-called “rip-off Britain”.

Asda, the UK supermarket chain owned by US discount giant Wal-Mart, has decided not to wait for the official ruling however, and is already marketing its new range of cut-price designer items to the pre-Christmas shoppers. The chain revealed that up to £25m (US$35.5m) of designer goods would be on sale from today, including perfumes from Dolce & Gabbana, Clinique and Calvin Klein, trainers by Nike and Adidas and Dom Perignon champagne.

All the goods will be sold at discount prices, with reductions of up to 50% off high street prices.

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A Wal-Mart spokesman told the Sunday Mirror that Asda is ready to flood the market with cheap goods at a moment’s notice: “It’s just a question of pressing the button and prices will fall even further.”

Asda has also recently revealed plant to open 23 cut-price designer sports shops across the UK over the course of the next six weeks, all of which will stock branded sportswear at up to 20% below high street prices.