Every little helps…apparently
Perhaps something is happening at last to curb the power of big supermarkets. Two initiatives are under way after seemingly years of Government and official hand-wringing.
Any day now, The Competition Commission is to publish its long-awaited remedies statement – the result of its two-year inquiry into the £120bn grocery market. Remedies being considered are reported to include strengthening the suppliers’ code of conduct and the possible creation of a supermarket Ombudsman. Also under consideration are powers for local authorities to bar major supermarkets from opening new stores in towns (such as Bicester, Oxfordshire) where they already have a number of stores or where their market share exceeds a limit.
The regulator says it has found evidence that supermarkets are using land-banks and restrictive covenants to stifle competition. It also says that it has found the conditions for tacit co-ordination on prices – but no “direct evidence” that it had taken place.