Blog: Dean BestAsda, Morrisons wade into Scottish independence debate

Dean Best | 9 December 2013

It is 283 days until Scotland decides whether to remain part of the UK and, alongside questions of nationhood and democracy , has emerged a more day-to-day concern - the prices in supermarkets.

Two of the UK's four largest grocers have indicated, should Scots vote for independence, they may look to up prices on shelves.

Andy Clarke, the CEO of Asda, said a vote to break away from the UK could lead to an independent Scotland being less attractive to the business.

"The cost of doing business in different parts of the UK does vary and the powers given to the Scottish parliament in the 2012 Scotland Act and any yes vote in 2014 could result in Scotland being a less attractive investment proposition for businesses and put further pressure on our costs," Clarke reportedly told The Financial Times.

Morrisons, which like Asda has a higher share of Scotland's grocery market than in the whole of the UK, echoed similar concerns. "If the regulatory environment was to increase the burden of the cost structure on business, that would potentially have to be passed on to consumer pricing. Why should the English and Welsh consumer subsidise this increased cost of doing business in Scotland?" Dalton Philips, the chief executive of Morrisons, told the FT.

The latest polls put those who would vote to stay in the UK nine points ahead of those who want independence.

The cost of living is likely to be high among voters' concerns as they approach the poll, which is scheduled for 18 September.

'Cost of living / bills' was the top issue among those asked by Scottish tabloid The Daily Record in February to list the five most important issues they were considering ahead of the vote.

UK retailers have acknowledged consumer trust of the way they do business is low, especially in the wake of the horsemeat contamination saga earlier this year.

However, the comments from Clarke and Philips could hold some weight, particularly among shoppers at Asda and Morrisons, which on average earn less.

Sectors: Retailers

Companies: Morrisons, Asda

NEWS

Dia, Eroski launch own-label purchasing tie-up

Spanish retail groups Dia and Eroski have signed an agreement aimed at creating supply chain efficiencies in sourcing materials for their respective own-label products....

BLOG

Premier Foods pension news offers cheer but challenges remain

Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....

BLOG

Another reshuffling of pack at Hain Celestial

Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....

BLOG

FrieslandCampina looking to sell final non-dairy asset

FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....

BLOG

just-food back up and running

To follow on from our earlier notice and after some hard work from our technical team, just-food is back live after today's power outage....

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?