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Press Release from MPC Associates - Established 1968 - Marketing, Management & Economic Consultants specialising in Out of Town Shopping Development in Europe and the UK 1970 - 2008


Competition Commission ducks the issue

that Superstore and Hypermarket saturation levels

have already been reached in most UK Cities and Towns



In spite of repeated reminders made by MPC to the Competition Commission it is disturbing that, in their final report published today, no store definitions nor word reference to the following had been made.





They have completely ignored the huge trading advantages of large car parking areas used by UK Superstores and Hypermarkets neither of which are defined in the report.


It is clear that the Commission has no understanding of the real trading advantages nor the turnovers per square foot of retail selling space concerned with Out and Edge of Town Shopping and, by doing so, they have failed to understand that saturation levels have been reached.


Furthermore MPC have also recommended to the Competition Commission that all Major Grocery retailers should provide full details for publication of local donations and Civic Improvements which they have made or have offered in any UK City or Town before and after new planning applications are made for large Supermarkets, Superstores and Hypermarkets.  Again this has been ignored.


However, MPC are pleased that the Competition Commission have taken up MPC’s suggestion that Farmers and the Farming Industry should be recognized in the Commissions final report previously this had been ignored by the Commission.


Please see MPC’s saturation report on the City of Hereford


Fur further information please contact:


Peter Wynne-James

Managing Director


MPC Associates - Established 1968

Marketing, Management & Economic Consultants specialising in Out of Town Shopping Development in Europe and the UK 1970 - 2008





Tel: (+00 44) 01886 880500

Fax: (+00 44) 01886 880848


For immediate release




The long awaited report concluding the Competition Commission inquiry into the groceries market could condemn local shops to oblivion if its earlier proposals are confirmed. [1]


This is the view of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) [2] as it awaits the Competition Commission’s announcement expected tomorrow (Wednesday).


‘The Commission has been narrowly focused on competition between the big retail giants.  It looks set to do nothing for the small shops and independents being squeezed out of the market by the big four,’ said Graeme Willis, local food campaigner at CPRE. 


‘To prevent market domination the Commission is expected to propose a local competition test.  But this wouldn’t stem supermarket expansion and the further erosion of the character and vitality of our town centres.’


After 23 months of the groceries market inquiry the local competition test is expected to be the major planning remedy.  This would stop a retailer with 60% of existing retail space in a local area from opening more stores there. [3]  But this test could prevent a few large stores being opened by one giant retailer only for more to be opened by another.  And if the threshold is set so high, it is unlikely to stop so-called ‘Tesco towns’ from spreading, let alone reduce the pressure on smaller grocery businesses or halt the loss of local shops. 


‘The Commission has accepted that the concentration of the grocery trade in the hands of the few significantly harms shoppers. [4]  Yet it has offered little so far to stimulate real choice and variety in the high street.  The Commission has failed to put forward strong tests on diversity or on appropriate scale for new developments which could stimulate local markets with stores of all sizes, kinds and levels of service.’ 


Graeme Willis concluded: ‘In its efforts to limit domination by one supermarket chain, the Commission could be leaving the big chains to capture the market, leaving our towns and shoppers with less choice and just more of the same.’


– END –




1. The Competition Commission published its Provisional decision on planning remedies for the groceries market in February 2008.


2. CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside. Founded in 1926, we have 60,000 supporters and a branch in every county. President: Bill Bryson. Patron: Her Majesty The Queen.


3. Competition Commission Groceries Market Investigation Provisional decision on planning remedies pp56-57: ‘If the grocery retailer proposed for the development has a share of net grocery sales floorspace (including the proposed development) of less than 60 per cent, the development would be considered acceptable under the competition assessment.’ February 2008.


4. Competition Commission Groceries Market Investigation Provisional decision on remedies: background and overall assessment p17: ‘Moreover, in our provisional findings we noted that reduction in the choice of fascias available to consumer is a significant element of the detriment to consumers that arises from high levels of concentration in local areas.’ February 2008.












Wednesday 30th April 2008                                                                            


For immediate release




Andrew George, MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Constituency of St. Ives, has today welcomed the Competition Commission’s recommendation to create a new ombudsman to investigate abuses of small suppliers by large supermarket chains.


Mr George has been pressing for the creation of a new supermarket regulator for the past five years and, following the launch of the Competition Commission’s inquiry into the groceries market in May 2006, he convened a cross cutting group of sector organisations, NGOs and academics which submitted proposals to the Commission including the creation of an independent adjudicator to deal with supply chain disputes.


In February of this year the Commission published provisional proposals to which included the creation of a new “Supermarket Ombudsman” as well as strengthening the existing Supermarket Code of Practice and last month Mr George gave further evidence to urge the C.C. to follow through with this idea.


Commenting on the publication of today’s report Mr George said;


“Although the Competition Commission could have done more to protect the viability and vibrancy of town centres, village shops and the “nation of independent shopkeepers” from the massive commercial advantages gifted to out of town supermarket chains they should, at least, be congratulated for their proposals to protect suppliers and primary producers from the often bullying tactics of supermarket buyers.


“Many of us strived hard to persuade the C.C. to extend their inquiry to look at wider aspects of the supermarket/supplier relationship and the report has shown that that advice was worth heeding.


“I don’t think that any of us who have consistently called for a tightening of regulation to protect suppliers have claimed that there is anything fundamentally evil about the supermarkets. On the whole they are very successful businesses and their behaviour towards their competitors and their suppliers is entirely rational. The real question is whether supermarkets have moved from successfully using to unfairly abusing their market power and this new ombudsman will help prevent such abuse occurring in the future.”






Notes to the Editor:


Mr George’s submissions to the Groceries Inquiry can be found on the Competition Commission’s website. (


For further information, contact:


(1)         Andrew George MP can be contacted on his mobile - 07779 224031 (if you cannot get through please leave a text with a number Andrew can call you back on), pager on 07699 748736 or his constituency office can be contacted by calling 01736 360020.

(2)         Tom Davis, Parliamentary Researcher, on 0207 219 4588.



























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