The Association of Convenience Stores has called for policies to promote greater fairness in the grocery marketplace.

Taking the stand at the first hearing of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group’s inquiry into the future of local shopping and the high street, David Rae, chairman of the ACS, said that the government could not continue to ignore the plight of local stores in favour of the big multiples.

“The Office of Fair Trading is content that competition means competition between the four major grocers in any one area,” he said.

Steve Parfett, from Landmark, added that his members are worried that they will have no shops to serve if small c-stores continue to close at the current rate of 2,000 a year.