Supermarkets bosses have been grilled by MPs on prices at the pump and agreed to consider entering into a fuel model which would give more transparency.
The government has been mulling a scheme whereby petrol stations would have to share live prices in efforts to bring more price transparency for drivers – a similar system exists in Northern Ireland.
It comes as bosses from the UK’s biggest grocers, including Asda and Morrisons, were quizzed in Westminster today on whether or not retailers were “behaving” when it came to how they price food and fuel.
Inflation is currently at 8.7 per cent as millions continue to struggle with the cost of living crisis, while many supermarkets have been in a battle to offer cash-strapped Brits better deals.
“I think anything that can benefit consumers we will be happy to look at,” David Potts, chief of Morrisons, said about the proposed model.
Fuel prices have remained high since the onset of the Russian war against Ukraine, however the Competitions and Markets Authority has said that limited competition in the market can also lead to unfair costs for consumers at the pump.
During the session, Asda, which is owned by the Issa brothers behind forecourts giant EG, also defended its pricing strategy after it faced a probe from the competitions watchdog.
It feared that its £611m deal for Co-op petrol station could increase prices from customers.
“The Asda fuel-pricing strategy, policy hasn’t changed over many years. We are still recognised, as the CMA has said, as the best-value fuel provider,” Kris Comerford, chief commercial officer at Asda, said.
Supermarkets will face fresh scrutiny on Wednesday when Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will meet with the CMA. as well as regulators for energy, water and communications (Ofwat, Ofgem and Ofcom) to examine whether or not supermarkets have capitalised on inflation by raising prices, known as ‘profiteering’.
While inflation is at 8.7 per cent, shoppers are still feeling the financial strain of a more pricey food shop.
Last week, Andy Clarke, who served as Asda’s chief executive officer between 2010 and 2016, said the big chains were “heavily focused” on competitive pricing as the industry hit back over suggestions it has looked to maintain profit margins by passing on inflated costs to customers.
The British Retail Consortium said yesterday is hopeful that food inflation should drop down to single digits later in the year.