Tesco, the UK supermarket giant, has denied an allegation that it deliberately flouted competition law with Christmas drinks offers.

Tesco was forced to deny breaking the law, following a story in the UK's Independent newspaper today (6 January), which contains claims that the supermarket may have deliberately under-stocked Baileys liqueur for a pre-Christmas price discount.

It is illegal for retailers to use product offers as "bait", while knowingly maintaining insufficient stocks to meet demand.

Labour MP Rosie Cooper complained to Tesco and Trading Standards after visiting a local store in Liverpool and finding discounted Baileys to be out of stock.

Tesco said today that the problem was an isolated issue with one store.

It said: "As you would expect in the run up to Christmas, these promotions were extremely popular with customers and there was a temporary problem with stock at this one store. Additional supplies were ordered in as quickly as possible so that customers were not disappointed." 

It added: "There was plenty of stock ordered to ensure enough of these products for all customers across the country."

A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council Trading Standards was unable to confirm whether an investigation had been launched into the issue.

Separately, Cooper has also complained about an offer putting Jacobs Creek wine at GBP3, when bottles were selling on the shelf for GBP6. Again, Tesco said that it believes the slip was a "local store problem".