The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has warned the government that if it doesn’t stop the continued growth of the multiple supermarkets, vital community structures, including local stores, will be lost for ever.

Speaking at the opening of CTN World at the NEC in Birmingham, NFRN national president Mahendra Jadeja issued a five-point agenda he believes the government needs to address to stop the loss of independent news retailers. The agenda includes calls for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to: reconsider its stance on multiple grocers’ growth in the convenience sector; strengthen planning policy to protect and promote diversity in retailing; review planning procedures to take into account the impact of supermarket expansion; and to continue to cut red tape for small businesses.

Mahendra said: “The OFT claims the expansion of the supermarkets into every area of local communities is good for consumer prices and choice. But how is it good for choice when there are fewer community stores, less community involvement and the same retail names dominating in and out of town and rapidly increasing their position in the convenience sector? “This is about more than just retailing - it’s about the very fabric of community in this country. We would like to see the appointment of a community czar who could look at everything and prevent the irretrievable breakdown of vital community structures.”

Mahendra also announced the results of a survey carried out for the NFRN, which revealed that 79% of consumers said it was important that the future of their local news and convenience retailer was protected.

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