Supplier grievances with supermarkets drop 8%

30 June 2016

Supplier issues with supermarkets have fallen by 8% compared to last year, according to the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA). 

In a poll 62% of suppliers said they had encountered issues covered by the Groceries Supply Code of Practice during 2016, compared to 70% last year. 

GCA Christine Tacon is the UK’s official independent adjudicator for disputes between supermarkets and their suppliers over the code.

While the most common issues reported were still delayed payments (30%) and variation of supply agreements (26%), failure to compensate for forecasting errors (25%) had overtaken unjustified charges for consumer complaints (21%) as the third most common grievance.

Tacon has also released her annual report, in which potential risks were identified, including a breakdown in the collaborative approach she takes with retailers.

To mitigate this risk the report said GCA has published guidelines formalising its interaction process and outlining its “expectation of action by retailers”.

Tacon said her investigation into Tesco last year took half her time and a quarter of office resources over the last year. “I read a huge number of documents that if they were arranged in a stack would reach twice my height,” she said.

Tacon said the top oustanding issues included supermarkets asking for lump sum payments and “pay to stay” arrangements.

Supermarkets have asked suppliers for lumps sums to “secure better positioning or increased allocation of shelf space” for products. The report said the adjudicator “has not yet formed her view on” this practice.

The report also said suppliers were still reporting late payments from supermarkets and grievances over charges being applied to suppliers over “photography and packaging design that do not appear to be reasonable”. 

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