Lord Stuart Rose, who became chairman of the chain last year, spoke of the “massive change in behavior” of customers, who generally put less in their baskets and turn to budget ranges. Inflation – the rate at which prices rise – has reached a A 9% high in 40 years in April.
Lord Rose, 73, said today: ‘What we are seeing is a massive change in behaviour.
“People are trading. They’re worried about the expense.
“They also have a limit they have set. They say £30 is a limit… and if they get over £30 then that’s it, stop. It’s the same with petrol. “
Talk to BBCthe entrepreneur said he noticed that customers were now worried about the future.
Food and fuel costs recently exploded in the UK. A fall in real wages could see a family of four increase their spending on food and groceries from £396 a month to £439 a month, according to a hard-hitting recent report from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD).
The Asda boss, who said he saw inflation rising last year like a ‘train going through a tunnel with a big flashing light at the top’, urged the government to do more to help low-income households.
Recalling the runaway inflation of the 1970s, the retail veteran added: “Once it (inflation) sets in, it’s quite pernicious.
“And that takes a long time to eradicate… We risk being in a place that is very difficult to extricate ourselves from.”
A government spokesperson told the BBC its £37billion support package meant it would offer a tax cut in July to save the typical worker more than £330 a year.
He said people on Universal Credit would keep £1,000 more on what they earn and a 5p cut in fuel tax would save a typical family £100.
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