Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/509/3384

From The Socialist newspaper, 8 November 2007

Supermarkets report

'Competition' dominated by a few giants

THE 'BIG four' supermarkets and their so-called 'competition' are making the headlines again. A month ago the 'big four' were implicated in a dairy product price-fixing scandal. However the recent Competition Commission's (CC) full-scale inquiry into the sector was greeted with relief in supermarket boardrooms.

Sean Figg

The inquiry claims that, 'on most counts', this £120 billion a year groceries market "delivered value, choice, innovation and convenience". However, one of the inquiry's 'concerns' is that there is not enough 'choice' of supermarkets in some areas.

Some supermarkets buy up land in so-called 'land banks' to prevent other supermarkets opening stores near them, leaving stores like Morrisons 'under-represented' in some areas. The CC wants planning laws and restrictive agreements to address the problem.

The CC says we don't have enough 'choice', but they really mean we don't all have a choice between shopping at all the 'big four' all the time. Ensuring competition? It sounds more like entrenching monopoly.

Big four

Between them, the 'big four' – Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury's and Morrisons – account for 60.8% of the groceries and retail market. Add in Co-op, Waitrose, Somerfield and M&S and 73.5% of the market is accounted for! Who would buy up these huge 'land bank' sites except these eight monopoly players?

The CC talks about creating an 'independent watchdog' to monitor the sector. If this was made up of supermarket workers, small farmer and small business representatives and local communities this would be a welcome step. It will clearly not be and will make little difference.

Besides, making good-quality affordable food available to everyone is most people's main worry, not whether the 'big four' can compete between themselves! The CC would have us believe that 'competition' ensures affordable food. Last month's price-fixing scandal shows this is not true.

The big four's domination of the groceries market means they can to a large extent manipulate the market to their own benefit.

The real issue is not some illusory 'competition' but the need for democratic control of these huge enterprises.

The CC report implies that having at least one Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury's and Morrisons in every town ensures us all 'choice'.

But all the leading brands are available in all the 'big four'! All the 'own-brand' products, bar the labels, are virtually identical! The 'choice' must be the few pence price difference between supermarkets.

These few pence mean a lot for ordinary working people. But surely low prices can be better ensured by bringing the supermarkets into public ownership as part of a democratically planned food production and distribution network.

It is not so much 'competition' that keeps prices lower but the big four's use of economies of scale, ie, the ability to produce and make masses of grocery products cheaply due to modern techniques.

These benefits would be preserved and even enhanced by bringing supermarkets into democratic public ownership, cutting out the big business profits and all the duplicated effort, wasted resources and damage to the environment.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 8 November 2007:

Sick of the profit system? Come to Socialism 2007


Socialist Party workplace news

PCS backs further strike action

Build the left in the public-sector trade unions


International socialist news and analysis

Martial law imposed in Pakistan

Israel: Café waiters' strike victory

Free detained Nigerian students


Socialist Party news and analysis

'Competition' dominated by a few giants

Stop and search failure

Corporate crime: Sign of an out-of-control economy

Yarl's Wood camp protests

Jean Charles de Menezes: Unanswered questions after court case

Why Prince of mortgages resigned


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Don't just 'celebrate' the NHS - fight back

Staff shortages cause stress and anger

Support strikers at Northern General Hospital

Health workers strike against sacking


Education feature

Education, Education, Education

New schools but not enough rooms

NUT elections: "What are we waiting for?"


Workplace news

Fight Royal Mail victimisation


 

Home   |   The Socialist 8 November 2007   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Competition:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleHow the Single Market blocks socialist policies

triangleFight for a socialist Brexit

triangleDon't we need competition to spur on progress?

Supermarkets:

triangleEvery fiddle helps

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2