Dispatches commissioned John Thanassoulis, lecturer in economics at Oxford University, to conduct new research into how UK supermarkets operate and make profits.
Amongst other questions, the research asks:
- To what extent have supermarkets managed to protect their margins and profits over the last 30 years?
- To what extent have they been able to do this in harsh economic climates, even before the current one?
- To what extent have they forced supply prices down to ensure "bargains" at the point of sale while still protecting their profit levels?
- How much of the average British family’s weekly shop is spent at supermarkets? How has this changed over time?
- What proportion of UK food retailing do the supermarkets account for?