ACS and other interested parties have until the end of June to challenge the Commission's findings, which ACS chief executive James Lowman said "failed to support choice and diversity in the grocery market".
The Commission's view that convenience store numbers are increasing - which contradicts all the accepted industry data - and that supermarket buyer power acts in consumers' interests has angered and frustrated campaigners for the independent trade. While a full judicial review is unlikely to be sanctioned, ACS is weighing up whether to challenge the CC findings at the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), a route which it used successfully two years ago to force the Office of Fair Trading to trigger the grocery Inquiry.
The Association will also have to take a view on whether continuing to pursue the Commission is a worthwhile use of the organisation's resources.
Lowman told C-Store: "We think the Commission has got it badly wrong on the key issues of buyer power, store numbers, and new entries to the market, and there's a lack of clarity in other areas, such as vouchering.
"But we have to take a legal view - if we challenged these findings either on their own or together, would we win a case at the CAT? And if we did win an appeal, the Commission might only have to re-write a section of the report, so we have to be clear in our minds that we would get a satisfactory end product."