the Business Forum and
the Economic Partnership
in Brighton & Hove
Homepage    BCRP Intranet    Funding    Events    Knowledgebase    Links    About us     Contact us
Key projects



Workforce development 


Business &

Property &
Development sites




Consultation opportunities

Brighton & Hove Business Forum
8-11 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Tel: 01273 735442
Email: info@brighton

© Brighton & Hove
Business Forum

News - 11 March 2006

FSB calls for investigation of big four supermankets

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has written to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) calling for a Competition Commission inquiry into the monopoly position of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets in the grocery sector.

Tesco and now Sainsbury have cleverly warded off this enquiry by presenting their in-town and forecourt shops as convenience stores. If these premises are left out of the calculation there is no monopoly. If the figures are combined however, Tesco alone will have almost 40% of the market – enough to trigger an enquiry.

Between 2000 and 2004, 7,337 independent retailers closed down or sold their businesses to Tesco who was at that time paying top dollar for high street shops just to gain market share.

The FSB believes that this trend will continue unless action is taken to address the inequitable practices that have allowed supermarkets to dominate the grocery and convenience store sector.

The FSB is calling for:

  • A Competition Commission inquiry into the monopoly position of the supermarkets. This should include an examination of supermarket relationships and trading practices in dealing with their suppliers.
  • A revision of Government planning guidance to local authorities. This will ensure that local government is not ramping up town centre parking fees whilst permitting still further large out of town shopping centres with accompanying car parks.
  • The Supermarket Code of Practice to be more strictly enforced because, despite being statutory, it is not influencing supermarket behaviour sufficiently.
  • Below cost selling should be banned, as it is in France*, to prevent supermarkets enticing customers in to the store, away from other retailers, by selling products at far below cost price, with other sales then covering the cost of this loss. This is an abuse of a dominant position using the size of the supermarkets to unfairly eliminate the competition.

Clive Davenport, FSB Trade and Industry Chairman, said, "If the convenience and supermarket sectors are analysed together, as common sense suggests they should, there would be an obvious monopoly situation where an inquiry would be triggered automatically. The way they are looked at separately cannot be justified.

"Such domination of a vital part of UK commercial and family life, based on overly-favourable government policy decisions and unfair trading practices, cannot be allowed to stand. With a full and open inquiry now, a balance can be found where supermarkets and small shops can co-exist, providing value for all consumers.

"Supermarkets have their place in the UK retail mix. We are not arguing against them because they are successful - profitable businesses are to be congratulated. However, unfair public policy decisions and inequitable trading practices play a large part in that success at the expense of smaller retailers. This is where intervention is now needed by the OFT. Inaction and timidity is no longer an option."

*Interestingly, the situation that has favoured small shops in France could be drawing to a close. Jaques Chirac, who championed the laws restricting growth and cost cutting, is approaching the end of his second and probably final term in office. There is some unease among small traders and a fear that the laws will be relaxed. However, the restrictive laws imposed on larger companies were set up following militant uprisings by a group of small retailers known as the Poujadists in the 1950s and the memory of this unrest may be enough to ensure the interests of small traders are considered fairly.

Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Federation of Small Businesses

Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


20 March 2018
Brighton named most entrepreneurial city AND second best for student happiness according to Fresh Student Living
19 March 2018
A Meeting with Chris Fox, Lib Dem Peer - Why Business Matters 14 March 2018
Better Business for All Event with BEIS 7 March 2018
Brighton celebrates women in tech as Spring Forward festival returns for a fourth year 6 March 2018
Six months of success for BTN BikeShare 2 March 2018
Sustainability in Action masterclasses for Sussex businesses 2 March 2018
Doing Business in China comes to Brighton 1 March 2018
Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce presents: Protecting your brand- a guide for fast growth businesses 1 March 2018
Long haul passengers boost local economy and jobs, according to new Gatwick report on the 'Visitor Economy' 28 February 2018
Save time reporting crime 27 February 2018
Warren Morgan Resigns from Brighton & Hove City Council 23 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company, Paxton Ranks in Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 23 February 2018
Greater Brighton's Commercial Property Database 22 February 2018
SE-ASSIST - Launch of Loan Capital in Greater Brighton 19 February 2018
House Price update Q4 2017 19 February 2018
What would you do in a crisis? 19 February 2018
The investment journey for high growth entrepreneurs 9 February 2018
Make Change Count 2018 - helping rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove 8 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company Paxton Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Programmein Association with the University of Brighton 8 February 2018
Cyber London Accelerator Invites Summer 2018 Entries 8 February 2018
Innovate UK Launches Strand 2 Emerging and Enabling Technologies Sector Competition 8 February 2018
Success In Sussex As Food And Drink Heroes Crowned Winners 8 February 2018
UK Games Fund - Fourth Round Open to Applications 8 February 2018
Innovate UK & Prince's Trust Launch Young Innovators' Programme 6 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership launches 'Kit Out The Kitchen' crowdfunding campaign 2 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Council and Crest Nicholson win £15m government funding to kickstart King Alfred project 1 February 2018
Could a Utilise Plus Programme grant help you? 1 February 2018
Shoreham Port Facilitates Huge Operation 18 January 2018
IUK Announces Collaborative R&D Funding for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Simulation 18 January 2018
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Launches $1 Billion Corporate Venture Capital Fund for Next Generation Mobility 17 January 2018
PORTlife #17 Newsletter Out Now 17 January 2018
Over £19,000 raised for Burning the Clocks 2017 11 January 2018
Brighton Main Line Improvement Project: Planned closures in October 2018 and February 2019 11 January 2018
Come on in! Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 8 January 2018
Sussex Business SkillSnap targets hospitality industry skill shortage 3 January 2018
House Price update 2017 Q3 20 December 2017
£14.35 Million European Regional Development Fund Launched 19 December 2017
Leading the way - Sustainability in Action masterclass 15 December 2017
Brighton is among the best places to start a business due to their strong growth factors 15 December 2017
GTR consultation ends 20th Dec 2017