It was always likely to happen eventually, given that Jimmy Lai Chee-ying pushes the boundaries wherever he operates. But the swashbuckler of the business world finally found a medium that was too tough to crack. No matter how the community disdains the idea of Internet shopping, the collapse of adMart is still a loss. The grocery bill is back in the hands of the supermarket duopoly, and that is something to be deplored. Prices will not go up because adMart has gone, a spokesman for one of the big two promises. Perhaps not. But they are certainly unlikely to come down as rapidly as they did when adMart made its appearance in June last year. The price plunge was electrifying. The climb-back, as adMart's troubles increased, has been much more subtle. The number of yellow cut-price labels is about one-tenth of what it was when e-shopping threatened to be a serious competitor on the local scene. Whether it was too far ahead of its time, killed by a series of bad buys, a dirty tricks campaign, or even - as the Asian Wall Street Journal reported - Tung Chee-hwa's assistant Andrew Lo Cheung-on asking property developers to stop advertising in Mr Lai's Apple Daily, and thus impeding his ability to underwrite adMart - hardly matters any more. The dismal fact is that a second valiant attempt to break the power of a cartel has ended in failure, with the local consumer the real loser. Carrefour was forced to retreat 'because of a lack of understanding of the local market', according to a rival chain. Cynics suspect it was because the company underestimated the reach of its rivals in stifling its operations. Eventually the SAR will have supermarkets as efficient, well run and pleasant to use as those in the US and Europe. But for that to happen, competition law is needed. Until then, it is unlikely that a new, viable competitor will emerge.