Blog: The UK's "big four" await supermarket review
Dean Best | 30 October 2007
As Tuesday’s (30 October) working day draws to a close here in London, no doubt the UK’s big four supermarkets are awaiting tomorrow’s publication of a two-year study into the sector.
The UK’s Competition Commission will unveil the initial findings of the investigation tomorrow morning.
Sections of the UK media, pressure groups and swathes of the British public believe the growth of the UK’s big four supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – has stifled competition and driven local shops out of business.
Tesco, the market leader, has been singled out for creating so-called “Tesco Towns” and for alleged “land banking”, buying up land to stop rivals opening stores nearby.
However, according to research into the UK grocery market, competition is alive and kicking and will only intensify in the future.
"There is a common belief that because food retail has a number of very large, dominant players consumer choice is somehow stifled," said Neil Saunders, director of consulting at the study’s authors Verdict Consulting. "In truth, it isn't - the biggest battle grocery retailers face is how to hold onto increasingly fickle customers who are able to transfer their custom elsewhere."
Indeed, looking at the bald sales figures of the UK supermarket sector, the fact that there are four relatively vibrant players in the market – with the leader account for just 25% of the market – suggests there is some truth in Saunders’ views.
However, the Competition Commission has been tasked with taking a more holistic view of the sector. And with the Commission expected to have studied issues like land banking and the often fractious relationship between retailers and suppliers, the big four will likely have to face some “recommendations” to reform their businesses.
Today (23 December) is just-food's last day before closing for Christmas. We'll return, raring to go on Tuesday 3 January - but of course there's been plenty of top-notch content that has gone live in...
The plethora of food manufacturing associations in the UK has been argued by some to be an impediment to the industry coming to a coherent position on the aftermath of Brexit and on what the sector sh...
An update on Amazon's plans for the grocery sector. The usually reticent retailer has this week poured cold water on claims it has plans for 2,000 physical grocery stores....
- just-food 2017 Survey - your thoughts on growth
- 2017 - what will shape the UK food sector?
- Food market in 2017: need-to-know US trends
- Food market in 2017: big foodservice trends
- Could BRF's Turkey move pave way for OneFoods IPO?
- Ferrero insists Nutella not pulled from shelves
- Dairy giant Muller appoints new CFO, COO
- Kellogg announces new "nutritious" line-up
- UK's Bakkavor plays down IPO "speculation"
- PepsiCo launches Walkers Mediterranean in UK