Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Tesco resists single price policy

Tesco has said it has no plans to adopt a single price policy for its petrol stations in Northern Ireland despite criticism that consumers in some parts of the province are having to pay more for fuel.

The supermarket giant's Northern Ireland director Gary Mills told the Belfast Telegraph that while there is a “compelling argument” for a single price policy this would reduce its flexibility to respond to changes in oil prices and moves by its competitors.

Mr Mills said Tesco responds “almost daily” to fluctuations in petrol prices and tries to pass on reductions quickly. He added that the average price of petrol at Tesco stores in Northern Ireland is “at least comparable with and mostly better than in Great Britain”.

“We got a lot of flack last year because we don’t have a one price policy in Northern Ireland. The reason for that is it gives us flexibility of each site to move up and down. What’s interesting is that other retailers at that time took the high moral ground and said ‘we have one price’. Asda and Sainsbury’s no longer have one price in Northern Ireland.

He added: “The argument for having one price is a compelling one, but it does take away our flexibility and having a flexibly policy on petrol prices is important.”

“At least we were consistent throughout this in saying we would not have a one price policy. Other’s weren’t, they were clear they were going to a one price policy and have now reneged on that.”