Ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy 'banned' wife from Waitrose

It seems that the erstwhile Tesco CEO took the battle of the supermarkets rather personally. Leahy paid his children to 'inform' on his wife if she shopped at a rival store.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs on Sunday, the ex-Tesco boss spoke candidly about his strict 'no supermarket but mine' policy at home. Wife Alison was a bit too fond of shopping at Waitrose, he revealed, but would get a 'severe telling-off' if Waitrose products were found in the family’s fridge.

'I actually bribed my children to sort of inform on my wife Alison if she popped into Waitrose when she picked up the kids from school,' he admitted, adding that she gave up going to the upmarket chain in the end because 'I complained so much'.

Sir Terry also fielded questions from presenter Kirsty Young on whether he felt responsible for the crisis on the high street. When asked if seeing boarded-up shops made him sad, Sir Terry replied: ‘It does but it is part of progress. People are not made to shop in supermarkets, they choose to shop there.'

Leahy also said that some high streets were 'medieval' and belonged in the annals of history rather than the present day. A bit like his rather draconian attitude toward which supermarkets his wife could shop in, you might say...

Read MT's most recent interview with Leahy, where the ex-Tesco chief talks unlikely success, being 'eaten alive' and on rumours of being offered the top job in the NHS.

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