Following the publication of High Street Britain: 2005 and on-going pressure from the Parliamentary All Party Small Shops Group, the Office of Fair Trading has referred the four big supermarkets to the Competition Commission.
Brighton Pavilion Labour and Co-operative MP David Lepper has welcomed the announcement saying, “This is an important decision for independent retailers and for consumers. It comes less than a month after the Parliamentary All Party Small Shops Group published its inquiry highlighting the increasing dominance of the big four supermarkets and the dangers they pose for small traders and convenience stores.”
David was a member of the inquiry team, which took evidence at the end of last year which led to the Small Shops report ‘High Street Britain 2015’ published on 15 February.
David added, “I hope the Competition Commission will look at issues such as the buying power of the big four, their hold over suppliers, below cost selling and the decline in choice caused by the closure of many independent shops.
“Our report last month pointed out the dangers not only for smaller retailers but also for the public if the big four continue to grow unchecked. It’s not too late to stop the decline.“
The All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group was set up to raise awareness among Parliamentarians of a broad range of issues of concern to small shopkeepers, including retail crime, excessive insurance premiums, planning reform, red tape and environmental legislation. The Group also looks at the vital social and economic role played by independent retailers.
Tight margins and unfair competition from supermarkets have caused the independent retail sector to decline over the last 20 years. Yet small shops are important to the economy as employers and drivers of innovation and entrepreneurship. As a tourist city Brighton will suffer if it loses its independent retail sector.
There is a school of thought that believes that by 2015 many independent shops will have disappeared and been replaced by big multiples. This could be very damaging to Brighton as it will lose a key tourist attraction. It will also restrict choice for the individual and create social, economic and environmental problems. It will even be bad news for Brighton’s multiples as they also thrive on the tourist market.
To read the report clidk on the link below:
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