Sunday, 11 March 2007

Very Little Helps

The Competition Commission is looking into the dominance of certain supermarkets, in particular concern is on land banks and tesco towns. Land banks are where Tesco has bought land with planning permission to build more stores, they can sell it with-ought the planning permission. Customers have a choice of where to shop, but as their share of the market grows choice is diminished. In some towns there are several Tescos and, what choice then. And they expand into other areas, e.g. selling wedding services, how romantic.

The competition commission is indeed concerned with the rise of the big supermarkets squeezing out local shops. It’s true they compete with each other, but would you only want to see a hand full of shops dividing up the country between them? And Tesco towns with no other supermarkets, who would want that? See whats happened in Inverness with three stores and plans to build a fourth,, or . Tesco lobbied not to include the convenience stores, which sell groceries. If you dont include them the situation seems less bad at 30.5 per cent share. Were the two sectors to be combined, Tesco alone would have nearly 40% of the market.

The Commission has called for any information it can get about the impact of supermarket dominance on farmers, suppliers and small retailers. This is a unique opportunity to make your voice heard and email the Competition Commission with any concerns you have about the issue. Even if you just have a minute, you can send an email now to lobby the Competition Commission, to

Suppliers don’t have much choice who they can sell to with the huge and growing power of the supermarkets. If they complain about their treatment they will loose the contract, hence the Competition Commission is looking at that too.

Its true supermarkets offer consumers a choice, but untrue they sell at a fraction of the price. They are very crafty about loosing money on selected items to draw you in like bread and milk, but make it back on things their research says you won’t notice. Its true sometimes they are the only ones open, but I prefer to go to farmers markets or farm shops. They pay millions to researches to learn about our shopping habbits, and they are very successful. They change their layout so you have to search for items, hoping you make impulse buys. They give loyalty cards to profile you, then post you offers to tempt you.

On some items, supermarkets cost more though. From
Tesco was, on average, more expensive than greengrocers. Convenience stores were generally more expensive than supermarkets but shopping at local stores can save on transport costs.
*Apples were cheaper in greengrocers and markets (including farmers' markets) than in Tesco and street markets beat Asda on price.
* Markets were slightly cheaper than supermarkets for `ordinary' carrots but supermarkets charged high prices for `added value' products.
* Farmers' markets are the best place to buy local produce but street markets and greengrocers also provided local apples, potatoes and carrots. Some convenience stores sold local potatoes and carrots.
* No local apples, potatoes or carrots were found in the supermarkets surveyed.

Central distribution network and food miles. Their lorries have to go from eg near me in Reading to Tescos central distribution point, then another lorry comes back to Reading, leading to wasted journeys. Why not just a single trip from farm to the shop.

Supermarkets want us to spend as long as possible in their shops, hence looking for items that have been moved around. Not very convenient, but their toilets are sometimes convenient.

Tesco are against the health traffic light symbols, 'The numbers-based system chosen by Tesco had already been shown by the Food Standards Agency to be least popular with consumers.' So much for their caring about customers, their loyalty is to their shareholders, if its not profitable why would they be interested.

Already small shops are closing at an alarming rate, use them or loose them. When they are gone do you think Tesco will lower prices? With a monopoly their price goes up. Many villages have lost all their shops, depends on how close the big out of town supermarkets get. Then if you dont have a car your in trouble, buses in villages tend to be infrequent. Between 2000 and 2004, more than 7,300 independent retailers closed, with expansion by supermarket giants such as Tesco and Sainsbury's into the convenience store sector claimed to have been a major factor.

Environmental organisations warn that global fish populations are reaching the point of no return. Even if urgent action is taken to change fishing methods and enforce fishing control zones, there may be no prospect of the recovery of certain fish such as Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon and haddock. To save orang-utans, there is talk of a total ban on unsustainable palm oil that appears in one in ten food products on supermarket shelves.

In 1999 they were investigated, and despite listing 52 practices that illustrate a complex monopoly situation, and concluding that 27 of these practices work against the public interest, the report amazingly gave the supermarkets a clean bill of health. Whilst nationally none of the supermarkets have a monopoly (more than 25% of the market share), they have been found to have extensive local monopolies.

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