The Turkish government is taking action to protect small, independent retailers such as grocery stores and prevent unfair levels of competition from larger chain supermarkets. New protective legislation is expected to be presented to Parliament for discussion over the coming months.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been drafting a bill that will include important provisions regarding retail trade.
One of the most important provisions in the bill will deal with the impact of chain markets, which have been forcing the closure of various local grocery stores across the country daily; the latter being unable to compete with chain stores opening in ever-more neighborhoods across the country.
Within the new proposal, certain criteria, such as the population of a neighborhood, will be introduced as criteria for municipalities to give the go-ahead to the opening of new chain supermarkets within a certain area. This is expected to prevent more than the needed number of stores in smaller neighborhoods being opened, leaving a space for the local retailers to operate. For instance, in a neighborhood with a total population of 5,000, only five chain supermarkets will be allowed to open, and the quota may not be exceeded.
The size of the markets will also be regulated under the new law. The size of a given chain store, it has been proposed, may not exceed a local grocery store in size, with other proposals suggesting a limit on their permitted area.
Provisions for the transformation of grocery stores into a common cooperative are also expected to be included in the proposal. In this way, hundreds of local groceries will come together and able to make bulk purchases. This will allow local grocers to purchase goods with the same prices as chain markets, allowing them to compete with big markets as they can buy and sell products at a cheaper price. Moreover, the local grocery stores, if not part of a common cooperative, will also be able to make purchases within agriculture cooperatives.