Competition and Oligopoly in UK Supermarket Retailing (2005)

Competition and Oligopoly in UK Supermarket Retailing Dissertation – Competition is an essential element of the market economy. This dissertation will attempt to examine the competition that is within the UK supermarket industry today, examining the findings with the context of academic literature by looking at a number of research questions. The dissertation has been inspired by the recent developments in the industry, coinciding with a personal interest to see what lies ahead for future of competitiveness for UK supermarkets.

Competition is currently a topical issue within the context of the UK food retail sector. This is due to consolidation seen in the 1900’s and continuing at this moment in time with the takeover of Safeway by Morrisons. Furthermore the industry was targeted by the media as being anti-competitive towards consumers and suppliers to the industry.

This was examined by the Competition Commission which reported its findings in 2000. There is much literature on competition; looking at competitive strategy, competitor analyses as well as competition within the UK supermarket industry itself. This dissertation will examine competition in the industry using a wide range of sources, including the literature, as well as getting primary data from the firms within the industry and individuals that have involvement. The dissertation will attempt to provide answers to the following research questions;

  • What is the nature of competition in the UK supermarket industry?
  • What is the future for competition in the UK supermarket industry?
  • What is success and failure in competing in the UK supermarket industry?

From this dissertation it is hoped that an insight into the competitive nature of the UK supermarket industry can be gained. From this, an understanding of the future of competition in the industry can be obtained. As a result of examining the first two research questions it is hoped that success and failure in competition in the industry can be viewed from a different perspective.

  • 12,000 words – 60 pages in length
  • Excellent use of literature
  • Good analysis of subject area
  • Well written throughout
  • Ideal for marketing students

1: Introduction
Dissertation Rationale
Research Questions
Aims and Objectives
Dissertation Structure

2: Literature Review
The Nature of Competition
Oligopoly Theory
Competition Theory in the UK Supermarket Industry
Non-Price Competitive Theory
Competitive Strategy
Strategic Groups
Industry Context

3: Methodology
Questions and Objectives
Approach and Strategy
Time Horizon
Data Collection Method
Research Setting
Research Participants
The Survey
The Interview

4: Analysis of UK Food Retail Sector
The Players
Current State of Play
Business Strategies
Price Competition
Pricing Policies
Non-Price Competition
Takeovers and Mergers

5: Primary Research Results
Summary of Interview

6: Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis of UK Supermarket Retailing
The 5 Forces Framework
Competitive Rivalry amongst Existing Firms
Threat of New Entrants
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Bargaining Power of Buyers
Threat of Substitute Products or Service

7: Safeway Plc: A failure in competition?
The Competition Commission 2003 report
Literature on consolidation in the UK supermarket industry
Effects of Takeover/Merger
Safeway: A Failure in Competition?

8: Conclusion
Areas for future research


Appendix Section

UK Supermarket Retailing Dissertation
UK Supermarket Retailing Dissertation

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