Competition Authority wants retail caps lifted
CA Chairman, Bill Prasifka, tells Oireachtas committee Irish shoppers was want bigger stores
9 November 2008 | 0
Chairman of the Competition Authority Bill Prasifka told the Joint Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs that the restrictions in the retail planning guidelines governing the size of grocery retail developments should be lifted. Prasifka described the decline of the independent retail sector as “practically irreversible” and said that the planning guidelines had failed to prevent this.
Over 120,000 consumers from the Republic of Ireland travelled across the border this summer and shopped at either Asda or Sainsbury’s. Prasifka believes this offers solid evidence that Irish consumers want access to these stores and that their entry to the Irish market has been barred by the restrictions, which cap grocery footprint at 30,000 sq ft.
On a recent radio programme Tara Buckley, director general RGDATA, disputed Prasifka’s claim that any operator has been barred from entering the Irish market, citing a planning survey commissioned by her organisation earlier this year. The report said that floor space in Ireland has more than trebled in the last five years, the discounter Aldi and Lidl amassing 193,200 sq m between them since 2000, and Tesco increasing by 64,400 sq m since 1997. Bill Prasifka was unavailable for comment.