As Convenience Store went to press, independent store representatives were preparing to meet with the Competition Commission (CC) in a last-ditch effort to influence the findings of its Grocery Market Inquiry.
In its final submission published last week, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) provided the Commission with further evidence to prove that the number of convenience stores in the UK is in decline.
It also reiterated concerns over the way the CC evaluated the impact of below-cost selling of groceries, and re-emphasised its position on the CC's analysis of the waterbed theory.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "We have presented new data from suppliers, wholesalers and independent market analysts to show the decline in our sector, and we believe the Commission will listen to this and come to a more realistic view on store numbers in its final report.
"What the Commission should be doing is looking at why stores are closing and what impact that has on competition. The loss of independents leads to a decline in choice and harms less mobile consumers."
The final round of hearings will last until the end of the year, after which the Commission will consider opinions and new evidence before publishing its final report, due in May.