Tesco has struck out at the Competition Commission’s ‘burdensome’ and ‘misguided’ decision to introduce a competition test for stores of more than 100,000 sq ft in size.
In a scathing response to the Commission’s decision to continue with a competition test the supermarket giant this morning accused the Commission of threatening jobs by ‘deterring investment in the areas that need it the most, in what is already a challenging climate’.
The supermarket chain expressed concern that the commission’s findings relied ‘on far fetched assumptions which don’t reflect the reality of the planning system’.
‘It assumes it is easy to find sites and there will be no delays in attracting replacement developments, when anybody who is familiar with the planning system and the property market knows this does not reflect the reality,’ said Lucy Neville Rolfe, executive director at Tesco.
‘In any case the government's own proposals to streamline the planning system make it easier for new entrants.’
It also warned that the main impact of the test would be ‘to deter extensions which will prevent many older stores being updated to provide a better offer for customers up and down the country’.
The Commission concluded in April 2008 that action was needed to improve competition among supermarkets and proposed a new test for planning decisions on larger stores.
This test would examine the number of competitors within a 10 minute drive in order to ensure no one retailer had more than 60%of grocery sales.
Tesco said it hoped to continue discussions with the Commission before a final decision was made.