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Supermarket Power: Serving Consumers or Harming Competition

 |  March 10, 2014

Posted by Social Science Research Network

Supermarket Power: Serving Consumers or Harming Competition -Javier Berasategi (Berasategi & Abogados SLP)

ABSTRACT: This paper analyses the sources of supermarket power vis-à-vis shoppers and independent brands. This power transforms leading supermarkets into vertically-integrated competitive bottlenecks that are able to restrict competition between brands (including their own ones) and reduce consumer welfare. However, competition enforcement has failed to address their bottleneck role and the negative consequences of their practices on dynamic competition (i.e., a market where the competitive process fosters innovation, quality and variety), the ultimate goal of competition policy. This paper proposes complementary regulatory and competition remedies to ensure that access to supermarket platforms and competition within them promotes fair dealing, consumer welfare and economic growth. It draws inspiration from the remedies enforced in other competitive bottlenecks such as CRSs, mobile communication networks, internet service providers, internet search engines and credit card networks.