The Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) eagerly awaited final ruling on the newspaper and magazine supply chain is expected to be delayed for several weeks, after new OFT chief executive John Fingleton called for the provisional opinion to be reviewed.

The provisional draft opinion was issued in May with the OFT saying that the system for exclusive territories for magazines broke competition law. The published conclusion to the findings was expected this month. The Association of News Retailing (ANR), which represents c-store news retailers, believes the OFT will not go back on its original decision but acknowledges that the draft opinion could be referred to the Competition Commission.

ANR managing director John Lennon said: “It’s a waiting game and I hope it doesn’t drag into next year. We are confident once a review of the draft opinion has been made the OFT’s decision will remain the same. A reversal to the status quo would be a disaster for the retail trade.”