The Christmas price war has kicked off as supermarkets slashed Champagne prices to less than £10 in a desperate bid to gain market share.

Asda had bottles of Dubois Caron Champagne reduced from £24.21 to £10, and shelves had been stripped bare this week.

Tesco is selling 12 bottles of De Vallois Champagne at just £9.67 per bottle when online shoppers buy in bulk. It is selling single bottles in-store at £14, down from £20.

Aldi and Lidl are going head to head with ongoing £12.99 Champagne offers – selling bottles £2 cheaper than when the discounting kicked off last year.

Sainsbury’s was selling a £24 bottle of Antoine De Clevecy Champagne at £12 and a £30 Heidseick Blue Top Dry Monopole Champagne now costs £14.99. A Piper Heidseick is reduced from £30.99 to £18.

The Co-operative Group has reduced Charles de Cazanove NV Brut Champagne from £31.99 to £15.99, while Morrisons has Louis Dubrince Brut half-price at £14.49.

The aggressive discounting strategy has been met with despair by some Champagne producers.

Lynn Murray, marketing director of Taittinger supplier Hatch Mansfield, said: “Reasonable promotions are all part of Christmas business and help drive sales. Deep discounting, however, is extremely damaging to luxury categories such as Champagne and, at a time when consumers are prepared to buy luxury goods or treats, it seems pointless devaluing the category and makes no sense to do this from a retail- er’s profit potential.

“Retailers need to be sensible on promotions.”

Nielsen analyst Helen Stares said the prices were the lowest in years and warned retailers are facing the most competitive Christmas ever.

She added: “These cheap Champagne deals sound like a footfall driver. Champagne has been losing volume over the course of the year, so it becomes more desirable and will help get consumers into the store.

“So much of the year’s performance for brands and retailers comes from Christmas, and the competition has started early, so I think it’s going to be more competitive than ever.

“But I would be surprised if Champagne prices went any lower. Once you take out duty and VAT there is not much left when Champagne goes below £10.

“We will see more discounting happening on other items as Christmas gets closer, on things like whisky and port.

“Last year there were lots of multi-buy deals but this year there will be price cuts instead because shoppers are looking to keep their final bill as low as possible.”

The British Retail Consortium said disappointing October retail sales pointed to a cut-throat festive period.

Sales values were down 0.1% on a like-for-like basis, the lowest growth in total sales since last November, according to the BRC- KPMG retail sales monitor.

“The recession may officially be over but it will take a little longer for consumers to feel they can spend freely again,” said David McCorquodale, KPMG’s head of retail.

“The disappointing figures for October indicate that winning share of the Christmas wallet will be just as competitive over the next two months as it was last year.”