The National Association of Master Bakers (NA) has slammed the Competition Commission’s report into supermarket power, accusing it of having "no concerns or interests about the viability of the high street or town centres".

NA Parliamentary officer Chris Dabner said the report, which recommends planning changes that encourage more out-of-town supermarkets, could have a devastating effect on retail bakers.

"There doesn’t seem to be anything in this report to help maintain business activity in town centres and high streets," he said. "If you build more out-of-town stores, people will inevitably be drawn to them, and that will have an effect on businesses in small towns."

He added that the narrow remit of the study mitigated against findings that would benefit small businesses, with the focus instead on increasing the amount of competition between existing supermarkets by allowing a bigger variety to be built in any one area.

The number of supermarkets in the UK grew by approximately 4% between 2000 and 2006, from 6,302 to 6,585. Sainsbury’s and Tesco have also stepped up their convenience store presence, with 60% now housing in-store bakeries or bake-off offerings.

l See news analysis pgs 14-15.