Rival grocers have hit out against the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s ruling in favour of Tesco in its appeal against the proposed planning system competition test
An Asda spokesman said it was “disappointed” the tribunal upheld Tesco’s challenge to the test – which would have meant supermarkets with a large local market share would have had planning permission denied to allow rivals to open stores – on technical grounds. He said the challenge was upheld because the Commission had not adequately set out its reasoning for why the test was needed.
The Association of Convenience Stores said the ruling will slow down government plans to implement an effective Town Centre First planning policy.
In a landmark win for Tesco, the Competition Appeal Tribunal said the Commission did not “fully and properly assess the risk that the application of the test might have adverse effects for consumers”.
The tribunal said it recognised that “there are a good many reasons why, if one retailer is blocked from developing a store, a replacement development by a different retailer may not occur”.
Tesco executive director of corporate and legal affairs Lucy Neville-Rolfe said: “A new test in the planning system would increase costs and make the process even slower and more bureaucratic.”
The Co-op this week concluded its£1.7bn acquisition of Somerfield. Somerfield chief executive Paul Mason has stepped down from the day-to-day running of the grocer, but will remain as adviser. Separately, Sainsbury’s has bought 24 stores from Co-op for£83m.