The OFT has announced it will not be carrying out an investigation into the news and magazine supply chain, despite retailers’ concerns over the monopolistic nature of the sector.

Following a prioritisation assessment, it decided that consumers would not benefit from an investigation into the sector. But the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) condemned the OFT’s decision as “an abdication of its responsibility to consumers”.

“By not taking action they are propping up a wasteful monopoly supply chain that continues to fail consumers,” ACS chief executive James Lowman added.

The OFT based the decision on its conclusions that the overall in-store availability of newspapers and magazines had improved since 2009; the number of retailers had remained stable over the same period despite a decline in circulations; average newspaper and magazine prices declined in real terms between January 2009 and August 2011; and because of progress towards self-regulation, including the establishment of the Press Distribution Charter.

But Lowman said: “We fundamentally reject the OFT’s conclusions on availability, store numbers and self-regulation. We can only assume that the reason they have reached these conclusions is because of the flaws in the process they have undertaken.”   

The OFT said it was important that it focused its resources on work that carries the greatest impact for consumers.

In September 2009, the OFT published its decision not to make a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission, but stated at the time that it would consider whether a review was justified after two years.