asda forecourt

TDR Capital – co-owner of Asda with the Issa brothers – said today that it did not ‘bump up’ fuel prices during the cost-of-living crisis, which led to other supermarkets doing the same, and was not working on a strategy that its profits were all from petrol and diesel.

Speaking at a Business and Trade Committee in Parliament earlier today, Gary Lindsey, managing partner at TDR Capital, said: “To support our customers through the cost-of-living crisis, we invested 25% of our P&L to support customers through an incredibly tough time.”

He said Asda was serving its customers across a whole host of different missions, with fuel being just one of them alongside grocery and top-up shopping.

“There wasn’t a particular strategy to bump the price of fuel or to make a larger profit from it. The strategic decision was to invest 25% of the P&L to support our customers through that timeframe. That value is very different per customer clearly dependent on their shopping habits, how they engage with the business and where they transact with the business.”

He said the notion that Asda was moving profit around between fuel and food was wrong.

“We are incredibly competitive, when it comes to price across the business,” he explained, “not just on fuel, but when you look at different grocery baskets clearly Asda is a value brand.”

Lindsey said he could not comment on other players in the market when Asda has just an 8 or 9% share of the fuel market.

The Business and Trade Committee was convened to look at the role of private equity in British retail and to discuss whether it has led to a ‘debt bomb’ under the British high street. Lindsey downplayed concerns over Asda’s multi-billion-pound debt in a higher interest rate environment.

He said there was no gaps in the company’s accounts but conceded there could be confusion over how the business is structured.

The Committee also touched on labour conditions in Asda stores in light of impending strikes. In response to one question, Lindsey said Asda was not anti-trade unions. “We take our engagement, our relationships, our partnership with colleagues and employees across all of our portfolio incredibly seriously,” he explained.

Meanwhile, GMB, the union for Asda staff has announced that the first three days of the historic first strike ever at a UK Asda superstore have been suspended so talks can take place between the employer and the union.