Asda's Mohsin Issa to be quizzed by MPs about 'anti-competitive' fuel pricing

Asda co-owner Mohsin Issa will face MPs later this month over concerns about fuel pricing at the supermarket.

Last week the Business and Trade Select Committee invited the chief executives of leading supermarkets to give evidence on fuel and food pricing.

Asda’s chief commercial officer Kris Comerford represented the company, with the Committee later flagging concerns about so-called discrepancies made between his statements and findings of possible anti-competitive practice by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which were published days after the meeting.

Earlier this week, the UK competition watchdog said that a decision by Asda and Morrisons to target higher fuel margins has weakened competition in the market.

An investigation by the regulator revealed that in 2023 Asda’s fuel margin target was more than three times what it had been for 2019, while Morrisons doubled its margin target over the same period.

Traditionally supermarkets are the cheapest places to buy fuel, with Asda generally being the least expensive, which has anchored prices in the past.

MPs said they were particularly concerned about Comerford’s statement that Asda’s fuel pricing strategy policy had “not changed over many years”, as this does not fall in line with the CMA’s finding of significant weakening of competitive pricing from both Asda and Morrisons.

The Committee also said it was difficult to reconcile with another statement by the COO which suggested Asda does not use "fire and rehire tactics" because of a previous letter he wrote to MPs which acknowledges that as a last resort, the supermarket might seek to dismiss and re-engage staff on new terms and conditions.

Issa now has been called to give evidence on 19 July to clarify evidence given at its most recent meeting with Asda.

The CMA's findings come several months after Asda bought petrol station group EG for around £2.3 billion.

Under the the deal, completed in May, the retailer took over EG’s UK and Ireland business comprising 350 petrol stations and more than 1,000 food-to-go locations.

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