Rod SIMS, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned the country’s supermarkets that they will be “closely watched”.

Speaking yesterday (10 October), Sims, who took the role of chairman in August, said Australia’s major supermarkets have “significant market power” that stops smaller suppliers from negotiating supply arrangements.

He said: “The ACCC can and will watch closely to ensure any such dealings do not involve unconscionable conduct by the supermarkets.”

Sims also raised concerns about supermarkets selling both branded and their own private label products.

“This vertical integration in the supply chain needs close scrutiny to ensure the supermarkets do not misuse their market power”, he added.

Last month the ACCC was unsuccessful in its bid to delay wholesaler Metcash buying fellow retailer Franklins in a A$215m (US$203.9m) deal.