Competition Commission Rules Against Tesco Site In Slough

Tesco’s attempt to pruchase a former Co-op store in Slough, Berkshire has reduced competition and choice for shoppers in the area, according to a ruling made by the Competition Commission (CC) today.
The watchdog’s provisional findings report concluded that the acquisition of the store on Uxbridge Road, which took place in 2003, has resulted in a substantial lessening of competition in the market for grocery retailing in Slough .
The supermarket giant was referred to the Competition Commissions by The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) back in April after the retailer failed to meet a deadline to identify a buyer for the store it had been told to sell .
Tesco, despite being asked more than three years ago, has failed to name a suitable rival to take on the site of the one-stop grocery store in Slough once one of its Extra stores was officially opened in the town.
“We will now look to discuss what action we can take with regard to the Co-op site and restoring competition,” Inquiry Group Chairman and Competition Commission Chairman Peter Freeman said.
“As Tesco originally bought the Co-op store nearly four years ago, the circumstances surrounding this case are unusual both in terms of a merger inquiry and also its relevance for the ongoing market grocery investigation,” he added.
Last month, the CC ordered Tesco to suspend work on the ongoing retail development on the former Co-op site. Although Tesco argued that planned development included a unit for grocery retail following the discussions with the OFT, Freeman said concerns have been expressed that it “might not prove a suitable or desirable site for a competing grocery retailer” .
The Competition Commission’s ongoing enquiry into the UK grocery sector, which is focused on the dominance of the ‘big four’ British supermarkets on local grocery outlets, has not for the first time hit out at Tesco .
Tesco currently has a 31 per cent share of the UK market, according to data from research firm TNS.

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