Supermarket giant Tesco is back in the grey area of retailing this week, after defying the efforts of Sony to control the numbers of its PlayStation 2 games console available on the UK market.

When it was launched last month, Sony was heavily criticised for limiting UK availability of the new must-have in games technology to only 165,000 consoles, but now Tesco has inflamed the electronics giant by importing a hoard of around 2,500 from a “secret location” in northern Europe.  

The consoles will go on sale today in five stores nationwide, and in Cardiff, Inverness, Watford, Newcastle and Peterborough. Extra security has been drafted in, as customers are limited to one purchase per person.

This is not the first time Tesco has utilised a profitable, and efficient, “grey market” to supply its stores. In 1997, a consignment of Levi jeans were ordered in the same way and Sony has already won an injunction against the sale of “grey market” versions of PlayStation accessories last September.