HC Deb 13 February 1978 vol 944 cc55-6W
Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what information he has on the relative overall cost of food at self-service stores and at traditional stores.

Mr. Maclennan

There is no systematic statistical information on this subject. For grocery prices, some recent research has indicated that prices in supermarkets are generally lower than prices in independent shops, not all of which operate on counter-service. For fresh foods, on the other hand, there is some evidence that specialist shops are generally cheaper than supermarkets.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, in the light of the fact that two major food retailers have reduced prices across the board by 5 to 15 per cent., why he will not refer to the Price Commission for investigation the profit margins of retailers.

Mr. Maclennan

Competition in this sector is intense. Moreover, my right hon. Friend has no reason to believe that excessive profits are being made in the retail trade as a whole.