The Competition Commission will publish its hotly anticipated report on remedies next week as the inquiry into the £120 billion grocery sector enters its final stages.
It is considering a whole raft of potential remedies including tightening up the Supermarkets Code of Practice and introducing a fascia test that would bar supermarkets from opening in areas where they already have a high concentration of stores.
The Commission is believed to be considering changing the code of practice to make it easier for suppliers to resolve disputes with supermarkets.
It is also examining whether the same Supermarkets Code of Practice should be extended beyond the UK’s largest supermarkets to include smaller chains including discounter Aldi and frozen food retailer Iceland.
Last month, a Tesco spokesman said: “Given that they [the Commission] found in the provisional findings that the market is working well, we still need to be convinced that the remedies proposed are justified.”
However, speculation is mounting that the Commission will deliver no hard punches on the big grocers when it delivers its final report before May 8.
Separately, first round bids for grocer Somerfield were due today. A bid for 900-store chain could lead to an additional inquiry by the Commission.