The Office of Trading will not carry out a review of the newspaper and magazine distribution sector.
The watchdog completed a near three-year investigation into the sector in 2009 and at the time said it would review it again in two years’ time.
However, in a statement this morning, the OFT said no update review was necessary following its assessment.
In-store availability had improved, it said, while the number of retailers had remained stable, prices had declined and there had been steps towards self-regulation, including the formation of the Press Distribution Charter.
“We recognise the importance of this sector to the UK economy and appreciate the challenges it currently faces,” said Louis Christofides, director of the OFT’s goods & consumer group.
“However, it is important the OFT focuses its resources on work that carries the greatest impact for consumers. After carefully considering views from across the sector, we have decided that further investigation would not be justified as, among other matters, it is unlikely to lead to significant benefits for consumers on the whole.”
But the Association of Convenience Stores condemned the decision.
“We fundamentally reject the OFTs conclusions on availability, store numbers and self-regulation,” said ACS chief James Lowman.
“We can only assume that the reason they have reached these conclusions is because of the flaws in the process they have undertaken.
“The OFT’s failure to act is an abdication of its responsibility to consumers. By not taking action they are propping up a wasteful monopoly supply chain that continues to fail consumers.
“They are sanctioning a market where choice is prohibited by news and magazine publishers and their profits are maintained by imposing constant reductions in retailer margins; also, where wholesalers benefit from exclusive distribution territories and can impose arbitrary delivery charges that news and magazine retailers have to accept.”