?This is a very depressing subject. It almost seems like a waste of time saying anything. I have been in this industry for 20 years and I have seen the independent sector decline as a result of the rise of big multiples. It's obvious buying prices are far cheaper overall for big retailers than for wholesalers. You do not see any of the multiples' bogof deals in the independents. The playing field is not level. The fact the upshot of the inquiry could lead to more large supermarkets is utter madness and will put further pressure on small independents. We don't need more supermarkets, we need more family businesses and a vibrant high street. Don't expect the lifeboat to come along. Just start swimming.
A flawed analysis Delivered wholesaler
?We welcome that the commission's report has found that a lack of competition in some markets does leave consumers at a disadvantage and we look forward to seeing steps taken to tackle this issue. However we are disappointed that areas such as the waterbed effect and below-cost selling are not recognised as real problems. There is no doubt about the thoroughness of the investigation, but we do feel the analysis is flawed in part, particularly where it relates to our sector. All we are looking for is a level playing field and this clearly has not been achieved.
In all probability we are looking at the likelihood of being back here with another investigation in a few years time.
Inquiry not over yet Cash & carry operator
?I completely disagree with the commission's dismissal of wholesalers' arguments. While the wholesale sector is currently vibrant and viable, when the tipping point is reached it will be too late to react.
The set of products and prices analysed was much too small. I believe there was too heavy a reliance on the Experian Goad data relating to the growth of the small shop sector. What's more, there is no acknowledgement of the imbalance of resource available to local authority planners in contrast with that of the multiple retailers.
However this inquiry is not over yet. I hope the sector recognises the fact that the Association of Convenience Stores did a remarkable job in forcing this inquiry and that to succeed again in achieving this is unlikely in the foreseeable future. We need to redouble our efforts to make a case for the remedies that will really make a difference.