Stuff business reporter Tom Pullar-Strecker has summarised the Commerce Commission’s 7 days of online hearings in its Grocery Market Study.
He writes the Commission has been left with two viable choices:
- attempt to clear the way for “like-for-like” competition for a third supermarket operator by recommending the Government downsize Countdown and Foodstuffs
- try to improve the rules under which the existing chains play, in the hope that will make it easier for more nimble, new innovative niche and online rivals to provide more of a competitive check.
“A year ago, when the market study commenced, I might have argued against pulling the trigger on major structural reforms. But I’m now on the fence after reporting on most of the 21 hours of the market-study conference proceedings, and becoming more uneasy about what I’d describe as some signs of cultural problems within Foodstuffs North Island, which may track back to some of its more hawkish franchisees.”