asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that the Fair Trade Commission in their latest report claim that loss-leader selling, which involves retail selling of grocery goods at or below cost, is of such minute proportion that it has no harmful effects, that this report is based on a survey which, having taken place about fifteen months ago, is out of date; and that this type of trading has now grown to alarming proportions; and if in view of this he will ensure that an up-to-date investigation of the position is carried out immediately.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Loss-leader Trading.
I am aware that the Fair Trade Commission published in their Report for 1961, the results of a survey of the grocery trade conducted by them in that year. The Report states that "it appeared from the results of this survey that selling at or below cost was a negligible feature of the trade; in fact, of the 2,109 pricings made by the authorised officers only 10 were in respect of items sold at or below cost." I am not aware that the position has altered significantly since then.
The operation of the Groceries Orders is being kept under constant review by the Commission, and I have no doubt that if further developments should warrant it, they will be prepared to carry out such further investigations as they think necessary.