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Supermarkets march on across the retail landscape

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23/01/2007

As part of its detailed ongoing investigation into the UK’s shopping landscape, the Competition Commission (CC) will continue to look closely at grocery retailing at the local level.

With the big supermarkets making a substantial UK investment in their operations, the CC has been analysing issues around the supply chain, planning and land banks of the big four – Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

The full report will not be published until next year, but there are worries that one supermarket could get to dominate so absolutely that fair competition would be impossible in the UK investment arena.

Peter Freeman, chairman of the CC and inquiry group chairman, said: “Our principal concern now is to focus on competition between retailers at the local level where UK investment in retailers is made, and where it most matters to consumers, as this may be where many of the concerns we have are most evident.”

He continued: “It would be a cause for concern if supermarkets, either individually or collectively, were in a position to increase prices or lower their offer in any particular locality or region because of lack of effective competition.”

He had another concern about distribution which echoed the fears of many consumers’ groups across the country about the UK investment in retailing. “We have some concerns about farmers and we have not received as much specific evidence about unfair treatment of suppliers as we expected.”

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