Claus Waedeled, UK MD of discounter Netto, has claimed that undeveloped land held by the multiples is preventing competitiors from opening new stores.

Waedeled admitted that the discounter would like to open as many as 30 stores a year in the UK but was being held back because land was unavailable.

His comments follow the recent opening of a former Safeway store in Bury Road, Bolton, as a Netto, which the discounter was only given permission to buy after no "effective" competitors showed interest.

Planning is key to the Competition Commission inquiry into grocery. Confirming that Netto would contribute to the inquiry, Waedeled added: "We would like to build 20 to 30 stores a year but the planning process makes this difficult. If the supermarkets are sitting on land that can't be used by competitors, that is bad for competition and bad for choice."

Netto has opened 15 stores and this year hopes to open seven more.