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Cost of Living

No evidence that Irish supermarkets are engaging in price gouging, report finds

The consumer protection watchdog compiled the report after Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney wrote to them about the grocery retail sector.

A REPORT FROM the consumer protection watchdog has said there is no indication that supermarkets are engaging in price gouging.

The report was compiled by the Consumer and Competition Protection Commission (CCPC) after Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney wrote to the commission, requesting its views in the Irish grocery retail market.

Supermarket chains have been accused of raising prices excessively during the current cost-of-living crisis.

The report said: “The CCPC has seen no indication in this analysis to suggest market failure or ‘excessive pricing’ as a result of an abuse of dominance at this time.”

It acknowledged that recent increases in food prices have caused stress for many families, and noted that a number of steps had been taken in Ireland and internationally to combat food inflation. But it said “we have not seen any evidence that price interventions have benefitted consumers. Price interventions carry significant risk of unintended consequences and may actually harm consumers.

“Conversely, interventions to open up markets and allow competition to flourish have a long track record of benefiting consumers. The situation whereby Ireland has the lowest food inflation rate in the EU did not come about as a result of price interventions.”

In a statement, Coveney said he was pleased with the report’s findings.

“I’m very conscious that food prices remain high when compared internationally,” he said. “This report, however, finds that food inflation in Ireland has been the lowest in the EU in recent years and that changes in input costs may take time to be passed on to consumers.”

The report has been published ahead of a Retail Forum meeting tomorrow, which will be chaired by Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Neale Richmond, who said: “It remains the case that grocery prices are high, and so it is important that retailers continue to pass on the impact of any reduction in input costs on product prices to customers.

“I look forward to engaging with retailers tomorrow at the Retail Forum, where I intend to receive updates on their work over recent weeks and hear how they will continue to help their customers.”

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