13 March 2009 | Jake Kanter
Supermarket chain Waitrose has written to 1,000 of its suppliers asking for a 2 per cent reduction in prices.
The retailer, which is owned by the John Lewis Partnership (JLP), has asked own-branded food and agricultural vendors to drop their costs to reflect recent falls in commodity prices. Waitrose has around 2,500 suppliers in total.
A spokeswoman said in a statement: "We are asking only our larger suppliers (1,000 in total) who will have the opportunity to mutually benefit from our growth plans. We are working with them to achieve reductions through a combination of volume growth and supply chain efficiencies. The figure is based on our growing scale in addition to substantially falling commodity prices."
Speaking as the JLP unveiled its annual results this week, chairman Charlie Mayfield said the parent firm had controlled its costs tightly amid deteriorating economic conditions. JLP plans to open 22 new Waitrose stores in 2009. Sales at the company were up 5.2 per cent compared to 2007, to just over £4 billion.
Last month, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer were accused of demanding lower prices from their suppliers as a result of the recession (Web news, 18 February).