The Competition Appeals Tribunal has rejected the joint appeal by the ACS and NFRN against the OFT’s decision not to conduct a short update of the news and magazine supply chain.
Responding to the announcement, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman vowed to continue to fight for a fair and sustainable market.
“This decision is deeply disappointing for anyone that cares about the future of our news and magazines market. The competition authorities have been allowed to hide behind a technicality,” he said.
“There are millions of consumers, tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs dependent on the future of this market place and yet the competition authorities have been allowed to deem the unfair practices in this market as ‘not a priority.’”
National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) president Alan Smith said: “So far as the OFT is concerned, so long as the news industry supply chain is keeping supermarkets and large multiples happy, through sales-based replenishment, they describe independents as ‘residual’ retailers, apparently unconcerned as to whether they survive or not.”
The Tribunal rejected the applicants’ challenge to the OFT’s finding that “the likely consumer benefit did not justify it undertaking the short update review envisaged at the end of the 2009 decision”.
It also rejected the applicants’ submission that the OFT’s assessment of its priorities regarding the strategic significance of any update review was flawed.