Why does supermarket inquiry ignore non-food? asks BHETA

The British Home Enhancement Trade Association has called upon the Competition Commission to recognise the increasing amount of non-food items sold by supermarkets.

Why does supermarket inquiry ignore non-food? asks BHETA

The association says that despite the fact that it represents almost entirely non-food suppliers, increasing numbers of them count the big four grocery retailers as customers. It was therefore surprised and disappointed to read nothing relating to this category in the Competition Commission’s recent provisional report on the groceries market.

“Most of the supermarkets now dedicate some 25% of their sales space to non-food items,” said David French, currently president and soon to be chief executive of BHETA, “so how can the commission have overlooked this product mix in its report given the impact their recommendations could have on suppliers, and indeed other retailers selling similar non-food ranges within the same vicinity?”

BHETA’s criticisms echo those of BHF Group, which has also pointed out the report’s failure to look at supermarkets’ inroads into non-food.

However, BHETA was pleased to see that the behaviour of grocery retailers towards their suppliers was a key area of the CC investigation.

“This issue of abuse of power by powerful retailers continues to be an endemic problem for our members and one we have championed with the OFT in recent years with only limited success,” said French.

BHETA felt the report helped to raise awareness of suppliers’ dissatisfaction with the Supermarket Code of Practice, and the ongoing relationships between dominant retailers and their suppliers, and so was to be welcomed.

Full details of BHETA’s response to the Competition Commission’s provisional report into the grocery sector can be found on the CC website, competition-commission.org.uk.

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