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Co-op Group investigated for treatment of suppliers

The Co-operative Group Limited is facing an investigation by the Grocery Industry Watchdog due its treatment of suppliers.

Christine Tacon of the Groceries Code Adjudicator launched an investigation having formed “a reasonable suspicion that the retailer may have broken the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the Code)”.

It relates to delisting and the introduction of benchmarking and depot quality control charges over a period from early 2016 to at least summer 2017.

The GCA has decided an investigation is necessary to fully understand the extent to which the Code may have been broken and the root causes of the issues as well as their impact on suppliers.

Tacon said sje now needs more information from direct suppliers and others to determine whether the Code has been broken and if so, what further action to take. She has called for evidence to be submitted by 4pm on 3 May 2018.

“I have previously escalated my concerns with the Co-op as part of my published collaborative approach. However, after carefully considering all the information submitted to me, I have decided that an investigation is necessary so I can fully understand the extent to which the Code may have been broken and the root causes of the issues that have been raised with me.

“It is now important that suppliers provide me with information to help my investigation. I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say about whether they have experienced any of the issues now being investigated and if so, the impact on them of the Co-op’s conduct. All information I receive will be treated with complete confidentiality.”

In response, the group stated “the Co-op has acknowledged that it has fallen short and has been discussing the two issues raised with the GCA for some months. We have already taken decisive steps in line with our commitment to ensure the fair treatment of all of our suppliers.”

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