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YouGov survey reveals 30% of Tesco suppliers say it rarely complies with guidelines

Tesco store Extra

Tesco is the worst of Britain’s leading supermarket chains at complying with industry guidelines designed to protect suppliers, according to a confidential survey of food and drink makers.

A total of 30pc of suppliers said that Tesco rarely complied with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, while 4pc said that it never complied.

This compares to just 5pc of suppliers who said that Aldi rarely or never complied, 11pc for Waitrose and 12pc for Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer.

The survey of more than 1,000 supermarket suppliers was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, the industry watchdog which held its annual conference on Monday.

The only retailer to have a worse ranking than Tesco was Iceland, the frozen food retailer. The GCA found that 35pc of suppliers believed that Iceland rarely or never complied with the code. Morrisons also scored poorly, with 32pc of suppliers saying it rarely or never complied with the code.

The survey found that more than half – 54pc – of all issues raised by suppliers last year were with Tesco. In second place was Morrisons with 26pc.

This party reflects the fact that Tesco is Britain’s biggest retailer and accounts for nearly 30pc of all grocery spending. However, it is also the result of more than one in ten – 11pc – of Tesco’s suppliers raising an issue in the last year. This is almost double the 6pc of suppliers that raised an issue with Morrisons.

Despite the findings, Christine Tacon, who leads the GCA, said there had been a “big improvement” at Tesco under new chief executive Dave Lewis.

Last year, 41pc of Tesco suppliers said that the company rarely or never complied with the code, but this has fallen to 34pc.

Also, the total proportion of suppliers experiencing potential breaches of the code fell from 79pc to 70pc.

Ms Tacon said: “We still have some way to go in important areas, but this is a clear sign we are on the right track.

“Suppliers are more aware of the GCA and its work and fewer now believe the GCA will not be able to do anything if they bring an issue to me.”

However, one in five suppliers said they would not raise an issue with the industry watchdog. Within this group, 68pc said they feared retribution from the supermarket.

The GCA launched an investigation into Tesco this year, the watchdog’s first ever probe, after complaints from suppliers about the retailer’s conduct.

Source : Graham Ruddick - The Telegraph

23 June 2015

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