Symbol and wholesale bosses have urged the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to block the Tesco-Booker merger amid fears it will be detrimental to the future of the wholesaling industry.

In a submission pub-lished last week, a symbol operator – which has remained anonymous –  said it “fears the future of our sector”. It warned the merger will result in a “substantial lessening of competition”.

It believes Tesco’s access to independents’ EPoS data will mean it has inside knowledge and could potentially lead to it adapting prices in Express stores to remain competitive.

It wrote: “Tesco will not just take business away but it will also raise its symbol operator and wholesaler competitors’ costs.”

The unnamed group predicted no independent retailers would want to operate near a Tesco-owned store because of the suggested price advantage.

Meanwhile, Bestway has warned in its own CMA submission that the merger could result in the collapse of Palmer & Harvey (P&H), due to the loss of business from Tesco – currently its biggest customer.

“Given the reliance of P&H on Tesco and its current (and well-documented) poor financial state, even a small reduction in volume would fundamentally impact P&H’s viability as a going concern,” it said.