Outline the Nature of Supermarket Power on the Highstreet

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In order to outline the nature of Supermarket Power on the High Street and beyond it is first important to establish what is actually meant by the term Power. Power is a complex term used to denote influence, control or domination (Allen, 2009, p 59). Because supermarkets sell products of many descriptions it is important to explain that ‘shopping’ has become a large part of people’s everyday lives and it has been suggested that we now live in a Consumer Society. A Consumer Society is a label used to refer to a society which is defined as much by how and what people purchase and use as by what they make or do (Hetherington, 2009, p 13). So what therefore is the nature of supermarket power on the high street and beyond if, we do now indeed live in a consumer society? What makes a supermarket powerful? The obvious answer to this would be in the name “super” which indicates size, not individual store size but how many stores across the country, which means supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda can dominate the market place. A supermarkets size matters in this sense because they have both market power and buyer power. Market Power is the power to influence market conditions, including price, independently of competitors, they can do this because they have a larger market share and rivals can do little about it. Buyer Power is the relative bargaining power between firms and their suppliers, larger stores are able to bulk buy and this enables them to demand discounts and more favourable terms which of course smaller businesses are not able to do (Allen, 2009, p66). However, just because supermarkets have this ability does not mean the people are forced to shop in such stores, no one has been coerced. The question is whether people have been dominated or seduced to shop at the supermarkets. By this I mean if one feels like they have no choice but to shop at the larger supermarkets then this is domination, however if the choice to shop at such shops...
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