What The Papers Say: OFT shops supermarket stranglehold

Issued against a background of farmers’ distress over livestock prices, the report from the Office of Fair Trading on the buying power of top UK retailers sent journalists seeking quotes from the National Farmers’ Union as well as those retailers investigated.

Issued against a background of farmers’ distress over livestock

prices, the report from the Office of Fair Trading on the buying power

of top UK retailers sent journalists seeking quotes from the National

Farmers’ Union as well as those retailers investigated.



No one contested the main finding that supermarkets exercise enormous

buyer control, but all other allegations were countered by the

supermarkets.



The British Retail Consortium (BRC) attacked the report as

out-of-date.



ASDA took ownership of the low pricing issue. Other retailers claimed

that discounts are passed on, and the BRC promised to provide further

evidence about international prices. The Sunday Times, while

unenthusiastic about a Mergers and Monopolies Commission referral on the

’big four’ - Asda, Safeway, Sainsbury and Tesco - was the only paper to

counter arguments about international price comparability. But by Sunday

there was little reporting - price differences made sharper copy than

’consumer choice’, but solutions were never part of the story.



Broadcast and analysis by CARMA International.



Cuttings supplied by Broadcast Monitoring Company. ’What The Papers Say’

can be found at: www.carma.com.



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