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Suppliers hit by shop style.

Byline: JONATHAN MACE

Dear Editor, - Paul Groves's article on supermarkets (Post, July 17) explained very well why as a nation we are lured by the convenience of supermarkets and also the problems faced by small independent shop keepers as a result.

However, there is another loser, perhaps greater. That is the suppliers of these mammoth chains. The supermarkets squeeze the profits of farmers to the bone so that we can get a few pence off our groceries. Small farmers go out of business, rural communities wither and the English countryside suffers because the environment plays second fiddle to price savings.

Third world producers suffer a similar fate. It has been said that to act responsibly a retailer needs to have less than 8 per cent of the market. Tescos has about 27 per cent and along with Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys, mop up something like three quarters of food retailing. And these giants are still expanding, seeking to buy up small chains and extend their stranglehold on suppliers and consumers.

It is time we put a stop to this. Just as the breweries were broken up following the good work of CAMRA (to take a small example) we need to pull apart these large empires. We could start by pulling apart the food businesses from the clothing and other household goods. We could also separate off banking and petrol businesses.

I'm not saying we should get rid of supermarkets. There are benefits from the layout, but it is time to rein them in, pull them apart and make sure they treat their suppliers in a way which is fair and just.

JONATHAN MACE Walsall
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 30, 2004
Words:274
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