The Federation of Wholesale Distributors claims it has achieved an “unprecedented” intervention in the government’s deliberations over the acquisition of Safeway.

The FWD submitted its views to Patricia Hewitt, secretary of state at the Department of Trade and Industry, after the inquiry closed and after she had received the Competition Commission’s report on its inquiry into the acquisition of Safeway.

However she told the federation in a letter: “I can assure you I will take account of your views before making a decision on the merger. Your letter has also been copied to the Office of Fair Trading which has also received a copy of the commission’s report.”

After receiving the letter, FWD director general Alan Toft said: “The fact that she has taken on board our comments, even though they were sent after the inquiry closed, is unprecedented. Usually when an inquiry closes the shutters come down. The fact that she has forwarded our letter to the OFT is significant too.”

The FWD called for fundamental review of the food and drink marketplace.

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