Commission’s report fails to tackle issues

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has condemned the Competition Commission’s final report after its inquiry into the grocery market.

FWD director general John Murphy said the report failed to address the unexplained pricing differentials that it uncovered.

He also criticised the report’s assertion that convenience store numbers are in growth rather than in decline. He said “This is at odds with a wealth of evidence that FWD together with the ACS has put before the CC over recent months. We find this disturbing because the reality of this trend has an important bearing on other aspects of the report such as the waterbed effect.”

He added: “We welcome the moves to give greater protection from abuse of buyer power to suppliers and primary producers by beefing up the supermarket code of practice and the creation of an Ombudsman.

“However, FWD is worried that the process of getting this in place will take far too long and may be done in an inappropriate way. The CC says it is going to ask the major retailers to undertake the establishment of this new regulator’s office and we would question what this means.

“For instance, are the poachers being asked to appoint the gamekeeper, or simply to pay his wages?”

Murphy is a member of the steering group which has been co-ordinating the independent sector’s response to the inquiry. He said the group would be meeting this week to decide on its course of action following the report.

l See page 8 for the director general’s views on the report

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