ASDA’s co-owner has denied that the supermarket profited from the Ukraine war by stealing drivers.
Mohsin Issa told MPs that it was “absolutely not” true that the supermarket had taken advantage of the world situation to reduce prices gradually, known as “fluffy”.
It comes after Ian Lavery MP asked the competitions watchdog if it had found evidence that Asda had used “inflation as a cover to lower fuel prices more slowly and . . . war in Ukraine to extract their customers.
Dan Turnbull, of the Competition and Markets Authority, responded that during the fuel market investigation, Asda’s own evidence that the volatile energy market had “expanded the opportunity to engage in push up prices”.
Mr Issa, who with his brother Zuber bought Asda, the UK’s third largest supermarket, for £6.8 billion in 2020, was questioned by business selection committee MPs.
He questioned whether Asda has increased its fuel margins since their takeover.
More than six times in a 90-minute session, he said Asda’s lead in gasoline and diesel prices “remains our strategy”.
However, the committee chair, Darren Jones, gave evidence from a whistleblower that the Asda price gap between rivals has narrowed from 1p a liter to an average of just 0.1pa litre.
Mr Turnbull said the CMA poll showed that between 2021 and 2023, Asda increased its internal fuel margins by three times compared to 2019 levels, when US retailer Walmart owned Asda.
In a heated exchange, Mr Issa, who grew up in Blackburn, said he has no idea why Asda is registered in Jersey, a low-tax area, since the Issa brothers bought the business. Karma.
OUI NEED POWER
BRITAIN will likely stop exporting more energy to France as a heatwave in Europe has affected the country’s nuclear power plants due to overheating rivers.
The EDF typically uses water from the Rhone River to cool its nuclear reactors, but river temperature regulations mean it becomes too hot to use.
EDF said it would have to limit nuclear output at some of its power plants.
And potentially high demand for air conditioning means the French will need to import more energy.
Frasers captures Asos
MIKE Ashley’s Frasers Group has stepped up scrutiny of struggling online fashion retailer Asos.
It increased its stake from 10% to 13%.
Asos is worth £460m but has lost two-thirds of its value in the past year.
Mr. Ashley, below, who has built a massive Sports Direct fortune, also has a 5% stake in Boohoo, a 9% stake in Currys and a 19% stake in online rival AO World.
He has a 37% stake in the luxury handbag brand Mulberry.
LIGHT BETTER THAN WOMEN
A NEW supplier enters the energy market for the first time since 30 companies went bankrupt.
Fuse Energy, founded by two former employees of the banking app Revolut, is offering customers a brand new electricity tariff.
It was the first sign of life in the market after costs skyrocketed over the past 18 months – notably Bulb Energy.
The Fuse deal will cost the average household £1,011.69 a year due to lower flat fees.
A typical customer will pay £54.86 less.
Food rushes to Wagas
SLURPING noodle fans are still flocking to Wagamama — despite the cost-of-living crisis, the company’s owner says.
The Restaurant Group says sales are up 5% since the start of the year.
And more and more customers are choosing to dine in restaurants rather than order takeout.
But Frankie & Benny’s business continued to struggle – with sales falling 4% during the period.
The company, under intense pressure from a trio of active investors, said it was working with independent advisors to look at potential liquidations – including the Frankie & Benny’s chain.
TRG said it is considering debt reduction options.
But it should be noted that any sale should reflect current trading and the long-term outlook.
PROFIT BANK HUB
The financial regulator has admitted that banking “hubs” have failed so far with only six cash centers opened while thousands of bank branches have closed.
FCA bosses, Nikhil Rathi and Ashley Alder, were asked how the watchdog ensures people aren’t left without banking or access to cash if all bank branches were to The shops in their town are closed.
Mr. Rathi also said that banks were “not fast enough” to pass on higher interest rates to savings customers.
Mr Rathi said a new consumer obligation will come into force soon and this will lead to banks improving their savings rates.
Invoices increase as company rewards
SEVERN Trent could increase bills for 5 million customers by £50 million over the next few years as the water regulator says it has surpassed performance targets.
Water company FTSE 100 will receive a grand prize as part of Ofwat’s incentive scheme. Water companies that fail to meet their performance targets will be fined or forced to compensate customers, as Thames Water had to do.
Severn Trent said it is on track to meet the City’s projections.
Boss Liv Garfield also said there were no plans to ban faucets, with reservoirs three-quarters full.