The boss of Tesco warned inflation ‘is really at the front of customers’ minds’ as it emerged he was paid £4.7m last year.
In the annual report, chief executive Ken Murphy said ‘now more than ever it is essential that customers can rely on Tesco for value’.
But the document also revealed the father of three, who took the reins in October 2020, topped up his £1.35m salary with a £3.2m bonus along with pension contributions and other benefits worth £189,000.
This included £26,099 of ‘commuting support’ to help with travel between his family home in Ireland and the Tesco headquarters in Welwyn Garden City. The average Tesco worker earns £19,676.
The details were published as fresh figures showed two in five Britons bought less food over the past month, and came just days after chairman John Allan spoke of the hardship he was seeing in Tesco stores, warning that the country was facing ‘real food poverty for the first time in a generation’.
Allan was paid £695,000 by Tesco last year on top of the £334,000 earned as chairman of Barratt Developments.
He said: ‘I was hearing for the first time for many years of customers saying to checkout staff, ‘Stop when you get to £40′ or something. They don’t want to spend a penny over that, as opposed to having everything checked out.’
Andrew Speke, at the High Pay Centre, said: ‘Awarding its top dog such a large pay package amid the cost of living crisis will not go down well with workers or its customers.
‘Tesco should be spending this money on keeping its food prices as low as possible, to ensure its loyal customers can still afford to shop there as food prices rocket across the board.’
The UK’s largest supermarket enjoyed a strong performance last year with profits jumping from £636m to £2billion as revenues topped £60billion.
According to recent figures from Kantar, Tesco was the only established supermarket to grow its market share in the 12 weeks to April this year – by 0.3 percentage points to 27.3 per cent. Others have lost ground to Aldi and Lidl as shoppers look to save money.
As well as increasing its market share, Murphy helped Tesco navigate the pandemic and major supply chain challenges, including lorry driver shortages.
For the latest year, recently appointed chief financial officer Imran Nawaz landed a £5.4m pay deal, driven by a £3.5m compensation payment after leaving his previous post at Tate & Lyle.
Families and businesses are straining under a weight of global price rises largely caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
Tesco’s top brass pay details come as the number of Britons cutting back on food shopping due to the cost of living is rising. Around two in five, or 41 per cent, of adults reported that in the past two weeks they were buying less food, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The figure, taken from poll responses between 27 April and 8 May, is up 39 per cent on the previous survey in April.
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