§ Sir Thomas Williams
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what evidence his Department has of the effect of superstores on prices and trade in surrounding shopping centres.
§ Mr. John Fraser
There are not yet any generally accepted conclusions on this matter. A number of research studies have been commissioned, and some have recently been published. The indications are that in hypermarkets—i.e., with selling area above 50,000 sq. ft.—food prices can be on average some 7 per cent lower than prices in other retail outlets. In other large food stores the price difference is apt to be less. There is no clear evidence that the presence of a hypermarket or superstore tends to lower the prices charged by competing food outlets. Their effect on local trade seems to be more marked on multiple stores than on small independent food retailers.