In a bid to protect the fragile independent retail sector The FSB has submitted a formal response to the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) document on the power of the supermarkets and their intention to refer the grocery sector to the Competition Commission.
The UK's largest business organisation welcomed last month's statement (see previous story in Knowledgebase), but warned the OFT that similar inquiries in the past have been woefully inadequate and that this latest examination must take a broad as well as a detailed look at the whole grocery sector.
The FSB reminded the OFT that below-cost selling, a flimsy code of practice for supermarkets and a planning and parking regime that distorts competition is severely damaging the independent retail sector, with 7337 independent retailers closing between 2000 and 2004.
Clive Davenport, FSB Trade and Industry Chairman, said, "The OFT's announcement came as a relief to many retailers and suppliers of supermarkets, who have been labouring in adverse trading conditions for many years.
"We hope that the Competition Commission will now be called in and will take its responsibility to ensure fairness in the grocery sector seriously.
"Large supermarket chains must not be allowed to trample roughshod over their suppliers and their competitors without any checks and balances on their power. If the situation continues as it is, independent retailing will vanish and consumers will have less and less choice."
Read related items on:
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Federation of Small Businesses
Office of Fair Trading