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Indies under 'increased threat' from supermarkets says BSSA

Independent retailers are under increased threat from the supermarkets following the Competition Commission's report into the grocery market according to the British Shops and Stores Association.

The BSSA said that the Competition Commission had, "completely ignored the real problems faced by both food and non-food independents on our high streets" and had put these stores under increased threat.

The Competition Commission's report, which was published yesterday, effectively gave the green light for further expansion of the major supermarkets. This could lead to more grocers opening up in both high street locations and out of town sites, which can damage footfall in local towns.

BSSA chief executive, John Dean, said the Competition Commission had concluded that the BSSA's submissions provided context for the investigation but concluded that they were not competition issues. He added: "They have therefore justified their position by pointing out that they are restricted by statute from making findings into non-competition issues."

Dean said: "Diversity should be fundamental to the structuring of the country's retail sector. But the investigation has missed an important opportunity by only looking at competition between the large supermarkets."

"It would appear that the door of opportunity for redress via the strict legal process of competition law has been closed for now. But BSSA, along with others, will pursue our 'Agenda for Change' with vigour, by direct representation to politicians and those government departments and agencies with policy and operational responsibilities in these areas," Dean said.

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