PPA takes concerns over supermarkets influence to Competition Commission

The PPA is to take its concerns over the growing influence of
supermarkets over newspaper and magazine distribution to the
Competition Commission.

The move follows the Office of Fair
Trading’s second draft opinion on the future of Press distribution last
week, which recommended giving more control to supermarkets within the
supply chain and which did nothing to allay industry concerns about
opening up newspaper and magazine distribution to the market rules of
competition.

The Commission is investigating the effects of
supermarket influence on the non-food part of the grocery sector,
following a referral from the OFT as supermarkets continue to
consolidate and move further into the convenience store market.

The current terms of reference of the Commission’s inquiry do not include non-food but the PPA is hoping these will be widened.

The
OFT’s final opinion is expected early next year, with the deadline for
submissions as part of the consultation period, 1 September. Last week,
in response to the draft, PPA chief executive Ian Locks welcomed the
fact the OFT recognised “the economic linkage of newspapers and
magazines in the supply chain” but expressed concern the body had “once
again not understood how the current system uniquely ensures the widest
possible access to a free and diverse press”.

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