Calls to investigate claims of UK supermarket profiteering
Pressure is building in the UK for investigations into claims that supermarkets are profiteering from record food inflation. Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey, has called for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to step in and make an assessment, as the households struggle to keep pace with spiralling prices.
“We need to bring soaring food prices back under control and offer relief to families. That means cracking down on profiteering by food multinationals and the big supermarkets so customers get a fair deal,” said Davey.
Both Tesco and Sainsbury’s reported a drop in profits in recent weeks, but experts have said more could be done to help shoppers struggling with rising prices. Tesco revealed that its profits have dropped by 50% from £2 billion to £1 billion for the year as customers continued to cut costs and focus on value. Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s reported a fall in its pre-tax profit for 2022, after the supermarket chain said it has spent more than £560m on “keeping our prices low over the last two years”.
UK manufacturer Unilever denied his group was taking advantage of the rising prices after posting a 10.5% increase in sales in the first three months of the year. CEO Alan Jope said: “We are very conscious that the consumer is hurting and that’s why we are not passing through the full price increases and are asking shareholders to bear some of the burden.”
Government figures show that food and drink prices soared at the fastest annual rate in over 45 years to 19.1% in March, keeping UK inflation above 10%.
Chief executive of the BRC, Helen Dickinson, said: “We should start to see food prices come down in the coming months as the cut to wholesale prices and other cost pressures filter through. In the meantime, retailers remain committed to helping their customers and keeping prices as low as possible.”