Small business groups react angrily to supermarket report

Competition Commission measures against supermarkets not enough to quell small retailer criticism.

By News Desk
30th April 2008 at 13:04

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has claimed that independent shops had been let down by the Competition Commission (CC) which today released its report into UK grocery retailing.

Key measures announced by the CC aimed to improve retail competition in local areas and address relationships between supermarkets and their suppliers.  These included:

  • a recommendation to include a competition test in planning decisions for supermarkets;
  • action to prevent restrictive land agreements;
  • a strengthened and extended Groceries Supply Code of Practice; and
  • a recommendation to establish an independent Ombudsman to enforce the code.

With nearly 2,000 small shops going out of business each year according to a committee of MPs, the FSB believes that the two year CC investigation has failed to address sufficiently the impact of the large supermarkets on independent retailing.

Clive Davenport at the FSB said:

People up and down the country can see that we are losing our small shops, but this report does little to solve the problem. We are in danger of sleepwalking into the death of our high streets.

The British Shops and Stores Association also expressed its dismay at the CC’s report pointing out that the proposed planning competition test only applied to big stores over 1000sq metres.

Presumably the ‘local’ versions of the major retail chains would therefore continue to encroach on the high street.

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