Case studies detailing how supermarkets are damaging consumer choice and destroying local businesses are being compiled for the Competition Commission by a coalition of organisations representing independent retailers.
The Independent Retail Steering Group's members include Booker, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the Rural Shops Alliance and Local Works, the group driving the Sustainable Communities Bill.
The group's submission outlining its proposals to the Commission's ongoing inquiry into the grocery market was heralded at a press conference chaired by NFRN representative David Kirwin this week.
At the event, Colin Finch, NFRN national vice president, cited a contract between a bakery in Wales and a major supermarket as an example of one of the case studies being compiled.
The contract allegedly demanded that the company could supply fresh bread only to that retailer's store on Sundays. Consequently, said Finch, other retailers in the region had suffered because there were no other suppliers nearby that delivered bread on Sundays.
Finch said the IRSG's formation showed how groups representing independent retailers' interests could work together to defend the sector. Such co-operation was vital because, he said, a follow-up investigation by the Commission was unlikely.
"I don't think the independent sector took the Competition Commission's previous inquiry in 2000 seriously. We have to now, because independent retailers are at last orders in the last chance saloon."
The IRSG's proposals include appointing a grocery industry regulator, creating a mandatory code of practice for supermarkets and banning factory gate pricing.
It is also pushing for a regionally focused planning appeals system.
However, it warned that calls for supermarkets to divest any land banks would probably only result in that land being shared out between them, which would make the situation worse for independents.