The Federation of Wholesale Distributors is to call on the Office of Fair Trading to investigate Tesco’s proposed takeover of T&S Stores on the grounds it would reduce consumer choice.

Director general Alan Toft said the FDF was a major defence mechanism for the independent retailer and that the application of Tesco’s buying power in the convenience sector cannot be in the interest of local communities.

A successful bid for T&S would add the c-store chain fascias of One-Stop and Day and Nite to Tesco’s estate.

Toft concluded: “If the acquisition is allowed to go through it will enable Tesco to wield its power in the independent retail sector which is currently free of such potential distortion.”

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth has also written to the OFT opposing the merger as it felt Tesco already had too much power in the market place.

Farming campaigner at FoE Sandra Bell said: “Farmers already get a raw deal because of low prices to producers, absurd quality tests and reluctance to stock local products.

“Consumers would suffer too, as local shops are driven out of business by a large and ruthless predator.”

See this week’s issue of The Grocer for more reaction from the independent sector on Tesco’s move.