Archive for 2nd November 2007

CEN article: ‘Tesco takes over market’

TESCO has more than half of Cambridge’s food market share, new figures reveal.

But that huge slice of the pie could be cut by a Government watchdog.

The revelation that the supermarket giant has a staggering 51 per cent of the city’s grocery market has added weight to calls for it to ditch plans for another Tesco store in Mill Road.

“It is too early to say whether this will impact on the Mill Road plans.” – A Tesco spokesman.

Tesco yesterday (Thursday, 01 November) met Mill Road residents, city MP David Howarth, city council leader Coun Ian Nimmo-Smith and Labour deputy leader Coun Ben Bradnack, just as the report was published.

Tesco representatives told them 20 full and part-time jobs would be created at the new store.

A Tesco spokesman said: “Tesco appreciates the time taken by the councillors and Mr Howarth to attend the meeting and present the views of their constituents.”

The findings of the Competition Commission inquiry into the grocery market were discussed. It has thrown a lifeline to the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign.

An investigation by the regulator revealed the supermarket giant’s dominance in the city is one of the highest.

Tesco has the highest share of the market in Perth at 60 per cent. Cambridge is ninth on the list with its 51 per cent. Harrogate is the lowest with one per cent.

A spokesman for the No Mill Road Tesco Campaign said: “The report has shown why this campaign has become so large. We would still be campaigning if it were any of the other large supermarket giants who wanted to set up in Mill Road.

“Our concern is the whole share of the market is going to the large retailers. The report has thrown up a lot of issues that these sorts of reports would not usually do and throws up a number of concerns that we share around sustainability, the environment and employment. We welcome further research and look forward to action being taken.”

The Hertfordshire-based giant could be penalised if the regulator decides to force supermarkets to sell development sites and stores in areas where they dominate – which includes Cambridge. It may decide to force supermarkets to sell up to 40 stores and more than 100 sites.

And local authorities may be handed the power to bar supermarkets from opening extra stores in towns where their market share exceeds a certain limit.

A Tesco spokesman said: “It is too early to say whether this will impact on the Mill Road plans, but to put it into perspective the store will only be 3,000 sq ft, which is half the size of the Co-op on Milton Road. We will have to look at the final report of the commission in March.”

The No Mill Road Tesco Campaign will hold a public meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday at the Baptist Church, Mill Road.

Cambridge Evening News, 2 November 2007

Key points from the Competition Commission report

The Competition Commission has been researching the grocery market and has now published its provisional findings.

We have published a summary of key points from the Competition Commission report of relevance to the Mill Road issue.