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The Power of Supermarkets on the High Street and Beyond

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Link buying/market power to how it effects local communities and shops page 72-80 * talk about market and buying power page 67 and how they use these powers for good and bad pro and anti supermarket arguments. * Talk about the global supply chain page 81-86 and how it both benefits and exploits foreign communities page 86-92 * Refer to Baumans seduced and repressed ideas on consumerism page 47and link to how supermarkets make it easier for people create their lifestyle through consumerism. Page 46 * Link this to the zero sum and positive sum ideas on page 70 Summary – unquestionable affects here and abroad, link to winners and losers ideas

Outline the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond.

Power is a term used to denote influence and control or dominance (Allen 2009, p59), in terms of supermarkets this power extends beyond their influence over British high streets and into foreign countries, In this essay I will be describing how this power has a range of both positive effects and examining the various arguments surrounding these.

Supermarkets power stems from their size as a corporation leading to their dominance in the marketplace. Domination is the ability to impose upon or restrict the free choice of others despite possible resistance (Allen 2009, p59). Supermarkets gain this dominance by having both a vast buying power and a large market share. In comparison to the individual retailer supermarkets have the ability to both purchase in larger quantities and therefore being able to negotiate far more favorable terms than smaller retailers. This buying power makes it very difficult for non-chain stores to compete with the prices that the supermarkets are able to offer. Market power is the ability to influence the market conditions independently of competitors, for example selling goods beneath costs (Allen 2009, p66). With both of these combined this raises the argument of are supermarkets using their power for good or to leave us with no choice but to shop with them?

There are two sides to the argument over the affect of supermarkets power with the pro-supermarket lobby being led by the large supermarket chains themselves. They will argue that their size has brought a massive range of easily accessible products at competitive prices to consumers that were not available to them before. Looking at consumer society as it is now through Bauman’s ideas of the seduced and the repressed this makes it far easier for people to create a lifestyle through consuming.

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