The major supermarkets' involvement in the convenience store sector is having a negative effect on the independent sector, according to the Independent Retail Steering Group (IRSG) in its submission to the Competition Commission.
The IRSG - an umbrella group for Booker, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Rural Shops Alliance and campaign group Local Works - called for measures to be put in place to assist all retailers in the sector to compete effectively and fairly.
The group set out its concerns that the buying power of the multiple grocers will prevent smaller operators from competing, and that existing operators will be forced to either reduce prices or accept a lower level of sales. It claimed that either of these outcomes would severely test their viability, while also creating long-term issues for the local community.
In its submission the IRSG also rejected the 'two markets' decision made by the Competition Commission in 2000. It said that the factors influencing declining independent shop numbers had accelerated since that ruling.