The Parliamentary All Party Small Shops Group is seeking to uncover evidence of unfair dominance of retailing by both grocery and non-food multiples.
It aims to present this evidence in the autumn to the OFT in order to provoke a new inquiry into retailing, regardless of the outcome of the current review of the code of practice.
Letters have been sent to the multiples inviting them to attend hearings over the summer. The group will also hear evidence from independents, wholesalers and MPs.
The Retail Enterprise Network from Manchester Metropolitan University will also be investigating trends in the overall UK retail market.
Jim Dowd, chairman of the group, said: “My colleagues and I have become aware of the concerns of our constituents, independent retailers and academics alike regarding the loss of diversity and amenity within the retail sector.
“Constituents have raised their fears about the breakdown of town and country life.”
The Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the group’s High Street UK 2015 inquiry as a breakthrough for its campaign for a review.
The move comes as the New Economics Foundation called for Tesco to be broken up in a bid to end its “monopoly”. Tesco dismissed this as “ridiculous”.
>>p31 Breaking up is hard to do
Police will be given powers to shut down premises for 48 hours that sell alcohol to underage drinkers in new plans outlined in the government’s Violent Crime Reduction Bill. The Bill would also create alcohol disorder zones in which all licensees operating within the boundary would be required to pay an average fee of £100 in order to tackle drink-related problems.
Asda has changed its alcoholic drinks ID policy after two members of staff were found guilty of selling alcohol to a minor during a test-purchasing operation. From July, Asda will operate a Challenge 21 policy under which staff will have to ask any customer buying alcohol who looks younger than 21 for proof of age.
The bidding for HP Foods has reached its final auction round with McCormick, Premier Foods and Associated British Foods all in the fray. Lion Capital did not make it through to the final round. RHM did not bid despite earlier expressing interest. Heinz has also been thrown into the mix, with analysts believing HP Foods would fit into its UK and US condiments portfolio.
The government will this month publish the first statistics for on-the-spot fines for shoplifting and criminal damage since legislation was introduced last November. The Home Office told The Grocer that 4,684 on-the-spot fines have been issued for shoplifting and 3,141 fines have been handed out for criminal damage.
Popcorn production has ceased at Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s Monkhill factory in Yorkshire following a major fire. The gum-making part of the factory escaped the blaze.
HP final round
on the spot