In an issues statement released this morning, which identifies the specific questions and areas that the inquiry intends to examine, the Competition Commission said that lines of investigation would include the behaviour of grocery retailers towards their suppliers and whether the planning regime constrains a grocery retailer seeking to enter or expand in an area.
However, the commission said that it would not be extending the investigation to markets for products and services other than groceries, including petrol, clothing and home entertainment.
It added that it would only be looking at competition issues in the inquiry and not “other issues of public concern associated with grocery retailing which we have no power to investigate or resolve”.
Inquiry chairman Peter Freeman said: “The issues statement makes it clear that it is competition issues that we will be looking at. We know there are many issues of more general public concern surrounding the grocery market. We will listen to evidence on these, but our concern must be with their impact on competition.”
He added: “I must stress that we are very well practised in dealing with confidential material and protecting the identity of parties who provide submission where this is requested. Many parties have already helped us by sending in evidence and I would urge other people to come forward.”