Lobby group the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has criticised independent public market and industry regulator the Competition Commission for not doing enough to help high-street stores and for worrying only about the super-brands squeezing each other out of local areas.
The FPB spoke out against the Commission’s planned ‘competition test’, which is being designed to stop the ‘big four brands’ running local monopolies.
But the FPB said the plans do nothing to help small business retailers ‘already struggling to compete against the free parking facilities, high-level lobbying activities and bulk buying power of the major supermarkets’. It added: “It would do little to help halt the demise of independent retailers up and down the country and [we are] calling for the Commission to do more to help them remain competitive.”
It also pointed for the increasing trend among consumers to do their shopping at big supermarkets, where heavy discounts are more available than in smaller shops, making conditions yet tougher for small businesses, leading to the fear that ‘the majority of the UK's independent retailers could disappear by 2015’.
FPB Chief Executive Phil Orford said: "It's all well and good increasing competition between the multi-billion pound supermarket chains but we would like to see more consideration given to ordinary shop owners desperately trying to survive.
"I think it is fair to say that the major supermarkets are in a very secure position, despite the recession, and need little help from the Competition Commission. Instead, I would urge the Commission to focus its efforts on the helping independent retailers, which are the lifeblood of the British high street, to remain viable against the competition from the supermarkets."
We second that, and join the FPB in its plea for the Competition Commission to attend to the needs of the small business owners who really need help, particularly at this most difficult of times, rather than to the market-dominating supermarkets who by comparison really don’t.