Retail groups adamant independent grocers are not involved in “price gouging”
11 May 2023
Independent retailer groups have strongly defended the sector against allegations of “price gouging” following the government’s decision to hold a Retail Forum to discuss grocery prices yesterday.
“Retailers react to wholesale price increases. They rarely, if ever, elect to increase the retail price unless and until the cost price structure changes,” CSNA CEO Vincent Jennings told ShelfLife.
“If there’s gouging or profiteering, it shouldn’t be considered that our independent and symbol group sector can be viewed as being guilty,” he said.
RGDATA has also spoken out on the matter; outlining the association’s thoughts in its latest newsletter.
“RGDATA members are not involved in price gouging – no independent grocer will remain in business unless they continue to offer their customers the best value and service each day every day. They compete with each other and with the large multiples, including large international grocery chains,” the associated stated.
To support a low price environment, the government must tackle the price gouging from insurance companies, energy companies and banks who are all announcing record profits and record charges on customers. These sectors have consistently over charged consumers who have limited competitive choice and are subject to ineffective regulatory structures.
“To keep food prices low we need action from government to bring insurance costs down – shops are still paying the highest prices in Europe for liability insurance. We need action to tackle energy costs that are boosting the energy companies profits to record levels. We need action on banking costs to curb profiteering by banks.
“The government also has a direct role to play in maintaining the competitiveness of independent grocery stores by stopping adding to operating costs of shops by a host of new government measures which directly add to the costs of what is already a low margin and high cost environment.
“Retailers are really concerned at the impact of a host of new government employment, sustainability and other measures that will add to their costs and which have had no proper assessment of the economic and societal impact or if they will actually have any positive impact at all. The Government also needs to ensure that the new sustainability/circular economy measures – the single use cup levy, the deposit and return scheme are cost neutral for small shops as promised,” the association concluded.