Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, today reported "strong growth" in its third quarter, with underlying sales in its core UK chain up by 5.6% in the 13 weeks to November 25 (1)
New Green Party Principal Speaker Derek Wall has called for the Competition Commission to restrict the growth of what he calls ‘Tescopoly’, revealing that the company has banned him for life from all of its stores. The Competition Commission is due this month to reveal it's 'emerging thinking' about its investigation into the market for the supply of groceries by retailers in the UK. (2)
Dr Wall commented "In 1993 I was an active member of the campaign to stop Tesco building a new store at Golden Hill, Bristol. Local people had worked hard to preserve their greenspace in Henleaze, and the city council had rejected Tesos planning application. This was undemocratically over-turned by then Environment Minister Nicholas Ridley.
"We camped on the site, I climbed and sat in a tree the day that workers came to start building. While the store was being built, we undertook direct action in neighboring stores in Bristol, as a result I was photographed and told that I was banned from every Tescos for life.
"The last fifty years have seen major changes in the way that people buy their food. People used to shop in food markets or specialist food shops, such as greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers. Now, more than 80 per cent of our grocery market goes to supermarkets - turning us into clone town Britain.
"The contribution of the UK food chain to climate change is large – one study estimates that it could account for more than one fifth of total UK greenhouse gas emissions. (3)
"Tesco now controls 30% of the grocery market in the UK. In 2006, the supermarket chain announced over £2.2 billion in profits. Growing evidence indicates that Tesco's success is partly based on trading practices that are having serious consequences for suppliers, farmers and workers worldwide, local shops and the environment. (4)
"I have written to the competition commission who are currently putting together a report on Tescos, supporting the demands of Tescopoloy, the anti-monopoly campaign for:
- A block on any new take-overs by Tesco or other major supermarkets
- Stronger planning policies to protect local shops and High Streets
- A legally binding supermarket code of practice to ensure that all farmers, at home and overseas, are treated fairly.
- An independent watchdog with teeth to protect the interests of consumers, farmers and small retailers
- Rules to protect workers' rights at home and overseas.
Notes for Editors:
(1) http://www.tescocorporate.com/page.aspx? pointerid=F7B92942593341F38F8E564425F45EA3
(2) http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/inquiries/ref2006/ grocery/index.htm
(3) Checking out the Environment, Friends of the Earth Briefing, June 2005
(4) http://www.tescopoly.org/index.php? option=com_content&task=view&id=42&Itemid=68
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