Asda chair Lord Stuart Rose has dismissed the government’s suggestions that supermarkets should place a price cap on certain groceries.
The government plan, which looks to help reduce the cost of living for UK households, would see the UK’s leading supermarkets voluntarily agreeing to put a price freeze on essential food items.
However Rose, who has been chairman of the Big 4 grocer since 2021, is not in favour of the government’s ideas, claiming they won’t work and could have “unintended consequences.”
Despite the scheme currently underway at grocery retailers in France, Rose told ITV News that the UK’s “very efficient” supermarket industry should not adopt the same plans.
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“I’ve been around in retail for a long time and grocer’s are exceptionally good at what they do,” Rose said.
“I would warn any government of any complection to be very, very careful about interfering with markets. Markets are funny things, they do what they want to do and once you start going and trying to interfere you might get an unintended consequence.”
He added that the government “is not a shopkeeper.”
“Leave the shopkeeping to the shopkeepers and leave the politics to the politicians.”
This comes as Asda has confirmed its acquisition of EG Group’s UK and Ireland operations for an enterprise value of £2.27bn to accelerate its growth strategy in convenience, omni-channel retail and foodservice.
As a result of the deal which is expected to close later this year, the supermarket will obtain 350 petrol filling station sites and over 1,000 food-to-go locations.
However, the acquisition has sparked concerns that it would increase Asda’s existing debt, which currently stands at £4.7bn.
Trade union, GMB has claimed the deal will “threaten food supply, fuel prices and 100,000 jobs.”