Business commentators and leaders have slammed Wal-Mart president Lee Scott’s call for a government probe into Tesco’s dominance in the UK.
Although Scott’s call, made in an interview with The Sunday Times last weekend, may have found favour in some quarters, many have branded Scott’s comments as hypocritical given his company’s position as the world’s largest grocery retailer.
In the interview, Scott, who hinted that Wal-Mart-owned Asda was looking at launching c-stores to take on Tesco’s Metro format, said that Tesco’s runaway share of the grocery market, which is now 30.7% [The Grocer Tradetrak, August 27, p21], meant something had to be done.
“As you get over 30% and higher I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene, particularly in the UK, where you have the planning laws that make it difficult to compete.”
Tesco this week dismissed Scott’s remarks and said its share of the total UK retail market was only 13%. It added: “Previous Competition Commission inquiries have found that the market and Tesco operate in the consumer interest. It is a competitive market and the consumer is the winner.”