OFT supermarket inquiry hit by delay

01 February 1999

OFT supermarket inquiry hit by delay

THE deadline for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) inquiry into supermarket profits is in doubt after a group of consultants pulled out of the investigation.

The consultants were drafted just before Christmas to decide the value of property and other assets owned by the big four retailers.

But they backed out after deciding they did not want their names printed in the final OFT report, according to The Independent today (Monday).

Two weeks work was wasted as another team of consultants was hired, pushing the report publication close to its February deadline, says the newspaper.

The inquiry was partly prompted by farmers claims that supermarkets were failing reduce retail prices of meat in line with falling livestock values.

But the inquiry team has been criticised for using an economic model which is allegedly unable to show whether supermarkets savings are passed to customers.

Meanwhile, a survey released late last week showed one in four consumers are dissatisfied with supermarkets and would rather shop elsewhere.

The study, by retail consultants Verdict Research, shows many shoppers choose supermarkets for convenience and the range of goods offered rather than price.

Two out of five Somerfield shoppers are dissatisfied and would prefer to shop elsewhere, the survey reveals.

The proportion of Safeway customers who are unhappy is 36%, with Asda registering 27%.

Sainsburys customers are the most loyal, with only 18% of shoppers voicing dissatisfaction with the level of service.

See more