The Office of Fair Trading has recommended that the grocery market be referred to the Competition Commission for a full investigation.

Independent retailers will be celebrating the announcement, which comes after years of hard work by representatives across the sector, who have claimed the major supermarkets abuse their market position.

The OFT announcement follows the launch of the Association of Convenience Stores’ Community Shops Campaign. The organisation was pessimistic that the OFT would refer the market for review and was preparing for a long, drawn out fight, possibly involving an appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

After last month’s publication of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group report, High Street Britain:2015, the Department of Trade & Industry had dismissed calls for a retail regulator.

However, John Bridgeman, former director general of fair trading, had backed a key recommendation in the report for an end to the two tier definition of the grocery market.