Supermarket probe a waste of money

2 October 2000

Supermarket probe ‘a waste of money’

By FWi staff

THE big supermarkets have accused ministers of wasting taxpayers money in their inquiry into the sector, reports the Financial Times.

The Competition Commission report, produced over the past 16 months, is due to be published within the next few days.

It is expected to criticise local dominance of the big chains.

It is thought it will recommend they seek approval from the Office of Fair Trading before opening relatively small stores close to existing outlets.

The commission is also believed to have criticised the practices of regional pricing and selling below cost to damage small retailers.

But the FT and the Daily Mail report that leaks indicate that the commission has not suggested any remedies.

According to the Mail the report says: “We recognise it is unusual, though not unprecedented for the committee to recommend no remedy for identified adverse effects.”

But it argues this is appropriate “in the light of our overall finding that the market is generally competitive”.

It is expected to call for a code of practice for dealing with suppliers, such as banning initiatives compelling manufacturers to pay for shelf space.

But Kevin Hawkins from Safeway told the FT: “If that is the best they can come up with after 16 months, then what a waste of time and money”.

The supermarkets also criticised suggestions that they seek approval for stores of 10,000ft2 or more if within a 15-minute drive of existing stores.

See more