The Commission is calling for evidence

Marc Israel of law firm Mcfarlanes said there was still time to influence the Competition Commission’s inquiry into the grocery retail market. He said: “There is a clear message running through the Commission’s emerging thinking papers, namely a direct plea for more evidence.”

Israel explained: “The Commission has acknowledged that parties may be understandably fearful of openly criticising their retailer counterparts. However, without a sufficient degree of primary evidence, the Commission is left unable to take action, even if it uncovers indications that certain elements of the groceries market may not be working as well as they could.”

He also urged suppliers to place more reliance on the Supermarket’s Code of Conduct and said the main reason for its ineffectiveness to date was that it had not been used. He also suggested collaboration such as joint buying, was beneficial for wholesalers as they can allow smaller entities to compete more effectively with larger competitors of customers.

He said wholesalers could seek to differentiate themselves from competitors by “offering further added value services to suppliers and retail customers, such as through simplified stock management systems or smoother delivery processes.”

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