The competition watchdog has given the UK's troubled electricals sector a pre-Christmas boost by unveiling plans to ditch a 13-year-old regulation that prevents suppliers of products such as TVs or washing machines from recommending resale prices to retailers and wholesalers.
The Competition Commission has decided to remove the Domestic Electrical Goods Order, introduced in 1998 to stop suppliers from restricting or withholding supply from particular retailers. Because the market has changed so much, suppliers are now not in a position to dictate pricing and supply in a way they may have been able to in the past. Smaller independent retailers are likely to be the main beneficiaries.
The struggling electricals chain Comet was recently sold for £2 and the US group Best Buy is withdrawing from Britain.
Roger Witcomb, the commission's chairman, said: "There no longer seems any reason for these goods to require additional regulations."
In addition to the explosion of online retailers, he cited the entry of the big supermarkets into the electricals market.