Proposal to increase permitted size of supermarkets is criticised

Ireland's largest retail industry body has said that a proposal to increase the permitted size of supermarkets here will lead to a lack of competition.

Proposal to increase permitted size of supermarkets is criticised

Ireland's largest retail industry body has said that a proposal to increase the permitted size of supermarkets here will lead to a lack of competition.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has published draft guidelines that include an allowed increase of supermarkets in cities by 500 square metres.

The Minister is defending the move, which was a condition of the Troika bailout.

However CEO of Retail Excellence Ireland David Fitzsimons said the Minister's proposal is bad for consumers.

"This is an extremely concerning development as this policy will result in “Walmart” type out of town grocery anchored retail developments of scale being built," Mr Fitzsimons said.

"If lessons are learned from the UK and USA markets this planning policy will result in food oasis’s (significant drive time to grocery shopping locations), a minority of operators taking very dominant market positions, increased consumer prices in the medium term and significant unemployment (most of these retail formats invest 5.5% in labour cost as opposed to the standard high street rate of 15%)."

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