On 1 July 2012, the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT") will implement its powers under the Groceries Market Investigation (Controlled Land) Order 2010 (the "Groceries Order") to assess the competitive impact of land agreements entered into by certain larger supermarkets. This means that the OFT is now in a position, in terms of having the relevant software, personnel and procedures, to review such agreements when notified to it and to require the relevant supermarket to release/not to enforce infringing agreements.
One of the concerns identified by the Competition Commission in the course of its market investigation of the groceries sector was that land agreements were being used by the major supermarkets to make it difficult for competitors to enter local groceries markets. This led to a number of changes in the competition assessment of land agreements in all sectors. In relation to land agreements in the groceries sector, it has led to the additional requirements set out in the Groceries Order.
The Groceries Order relates to the following agreements entered into by the designated large grocery retailers...
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