Tesco's appeal against the Competition Commission's proposed competition test "should be seen as an attempt to delay and subvert the outcome of the inquiry".
That's the view of the ACS, the organisation that forced the OFT to refer the grocery sector the commission in the first place. Chief executive James Lowman has accused Tesco of using its appeal as a spoiling tactic rather than being something it is genuinely concerned about.
"The competition test is a timid remedy that would have almost no impact on the encroaching dominance of Tesco in all but a handful of places where it already has in excess of a colossal 60% market share," said Lowman. "Tesco's desire to quash even this indicates how divorced it has become from what is in the best long-term interests of consumers."
The ACS is concerned that the appeal will affect the ongoing work of the Department for Communities and Local Government which is looking at this alongside further reform of town centre first planning policy. A decision from government was expected later this month.
However Tesco defended its appeal, which it lodged with the Competition Appeal Tribunal this week, claiming the competition test did not remedy the adverse effect on competition identified. "Planning decisions should be taken by local people who understand what their community needs, said Tesco's corporate and legal affairs director Lucy Neville-Rolfe. "It is a matter of principle to Tesco that customers, not regulators, should decide where we shop."