Competition Commission to impose reforms on supermarkets

The major retailers are facing a range of reforms to planning laws and to its voluntary code with suppliers following an inquiry by the Competition Commission. The report will be published later this week.

The changes follow the third inquiry into the conduct of the grocery industry in seven years. It is understood that the report will recommend that planning laws should take into account competition at proposal stage.

It is expected that the report will suggest plans including the appointment of a supplier ombudsman, who will oversee its voluntary code with suppliers such as farmers, and may also see the introduction of a “fascia test” that would allow local authorities to look at the existing local retail market before making planning decisions.

Planning became a central focus of the inquiry after the commission said in July that Tesco displayed “a pattern of behaviour” that suggested it held land to stop competitors moving into strong areas for the retailer.

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