This data represents the last piece of the jigsaw that the Commission must have in order to see the complete picture that is today's UK grocery market. In our view that market is dangerously skewed in favour of the giant multiple supermarkets and pricing is at the heart of the matter.
For the independent retail channel to be properly competitive, wholesalers must be able to achieve equitable prices from suppliers across the board.
In its Supermarkets Report in 2000, the Commission disclosed an 11% pricing advantage that Tesco enjoyed over Budgens.
The FWD maintains that this gap has widened significantly in the multiples' favour during the past six years.
The Commission based its conclusion on pricing differentials in 2000 on information supplied by major manufacturers, so we are pleased it is energetically going down that path again.
Wholesalers and retailers have already supplied the Commission with an incredibly large amount of data on prices and margins for its current inquiry. When this is married up to the information we believe is being demanded of suppliers, the truth should out at last.
FWD gives credence to the waterbed effect and this inquiry might be able to demonstrate it once and for all.
Without being unduly flippant, I would suggest that the supermarkets have also been benefiting from a sofa effect - as in sofa(r), so good - for far too long.