Morrisons has taken its first step into the controversial three-for-£10 wine promotion mechanic – despite rivals having killed it off for damaging profits.

The trade thought it had seen the last of the infamous deal when Asda – which originally introduced it, sparking copycat offers across the trade – ditched it in January after admitting it was becoming impossible to maintain quality and deliver margin.

But last week Morrisons resurrected the deal along with a series of other measures to attract customers amid falling profits across its business.

A spokesman said: “The three-for-£10 wine offer ran over the bank holiday weekend – an occasion when we knew our customers were looking for some great value wines to celebrate the extra day off. Plans or strategy for future offers are not released by Morrisons so there is no further comment in regards to whether the offer will be repeated at this stage.”

A senior figure at a rival supermarket told OLN: “I thought three-for-£10 had gone forever. In terms of being a nuclear button to press, this is a pretty big one.”

Steve Barton, chief executive of Innovation Drinks, said: “It’s ironic that Morrisons was the only retailer not to have gone down that route until now. Asda kicked it off, followed by Tesco then Sainsbury’s, but Morrisons didn’t get involved. “It became one of the most successful sales mechanics and accounted for 22 million cases of wine. The only other promotion that was as good was when I did the first half-price offer on Nottage Hill Chardonnay in Sainsbury’s in 1997 when we sold 150,000 cases in three weeks.”

He added: “Three-for-£10 really took its grip when all the retailers fell over themselves to get wine drinkers in because they were a high spending demographic. “But Morrisons didn’t do it and instead boasted that it had 300 wines all under £3, so a more EDLP approach.

“So to march on to 2014 and see Morrisons do it when you’ve got tax where it is with £3 a bottle of duty and VAT shows how unsustainable the promotion is. Wine trade purists will be up in arms, but consumers will love it. But ultimately no one will be making a dime.”