Competition Commission to publish grocery report

The Competition Commission (CC) will publish the findings of its two-year inquiry into the grocery sector later today.

It is expected that the recommendations could include: changes to discourage supermarket chains from developing local monopolies, penalties for supermarkets that use their size to force down prices and an ombudsman to supervise the relationship between the major multiples and their suppliers.

The CC published its provisional findings in October last year, in which it concluded that action is needed to improve competition in a number of local markets and to address relationships between retailers and their suppliers.

Peter Freeman, chairman of CC and Inquiry Group chairman, said: "We do have concerns about aspects of the way retailers deal with their suppliers, which, if left unchecked, could harm consumers. We are concerned that the transfer of unexpected costs and excessive risk on to suppliers is likely to affect their ability to invest and innovate, which could then adversely affect product quality and innovation for consumers."

Since October, the CC has been considering a range of measures to address the concerns raised in the provisional report and discussing them with all interested parties.

The CC's £1.23bn investigation received over 550 submissions, held over 64 hearings with main and third parties, undertook three separate surveys, analysed existing data and research covering the whole industry and collected a data set of 14,000 grocery stores.