John Lewis Partnership-owned supermarket Waitrose has, in comparison to its rivals, publically backed the government’s latest initiative to protect retail suppliers.
Ministers from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced yesterday their intention to hire an adjudicator to monitor retailer’s adherence to the Groceries Supply Code of Practice.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents the countries leading supermarkets, immediately came out against the proposals, stating that it would only add additional red tape and costs to an industry attempting to help return UK plc to growth.
Waitrose however has backed the government’s moves and says that anything that supports and protects suppliers will be good for the industry.
A spokesperson for Waitrose told Retail Gazette: “Our suppliers are the life blood of the supermarket industry and it is vital to offer them meaningful long term support.
“Waitrose has always had a long term commitment to working collaboratively with our suppliers.”
In these times of tight margins, the grocery Code of Practice is intended to protect suppliers from being squeezed by heavyweight retailers who can dictate the terms of business.
Minister for Food & Agriculture Jim Paice argued yesterday that an adjudicator would “give teeth to the Code of Practice” by impartially mediating on any disputes.
The Waitrose Spokesman added: “We believe that industry-wide regulation is the best solution for suppliers and long overdue for our industry, and we look forward to working cooperatively with the Groceries Code Adjudicator.”
Yesterday the BRC claimed that retailers were already adhering to code without the need for outside supervision and that the predicted £800,000 pa wage for the adjudicator, to be paid by the top ten supermarkets, was likley to be a lot higher.