Retailer test delay prompts policy call

Retail planners are urging the government to publish PPS4 to avoid further policy uncertainty as the debate about whether to introduce a competition test drags on.

The call comes after the Competition Commission made its final case to the government for a competition test for larger grocery stores to prevent single retailers dominating localities.

The body last week restated that the test will bring benefits for consumers after it carried out more analysis in response to a successful appeal by Tesco in March.

But planners fear that the proposal will lead to further delay to PPS4 on economic prosperity. CB Richard Ellis planning director Nick Diment said: "Another level of bureaucracy will do little to inspire confidence."

Roger Tym & Partners associate Richard Lemon said the proposal could lead to a third draft of PPS4 or its publication but then an early replacement. The sector is faced with "continued uncertainty", he warned.

Tesco still claims that the test would block investment. "It makes no sense in a challenging economic climate," said executive director Lucy Neville-Rolfe.

But the commission insists that retailers would be able to predict the test's outcome in most cases, so it would not cause additional delays. The DCLG is examining its recommendation and aims to publish the final PPS4 before the end of the year.

The Competition Commission's report is available at

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