The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has written to the Competition Commission to explain its concerns over flaws in the latest proposed code of practice for supermarkets. It is concerned about the failure to make non-compliance by supermarkets with the code provisions an offence, raising concerns about how it will be monitored and enforced.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said that the Commission was "proposing a code without teeth”.

“The Commission appears wholly reliant on imposing a voluntary or compulsory Ombudsman scheme, “ added Lowman. “So far the Commission has made slow and ineffective progress in delivering such a scheme. Given the poor performance, the proposed code has to be effective until such time as an Ombudsman is set up. A system wholly reliant on complaints is doomed to fail.”

Lowman also urged the Commission to step up its timetable for an Ombudsman. He said: “The Commission has still to act on the consumer harms that were identified well over a year ago – action is needed urgently.”