Giles Brook, the Boss of Vita Coco, has accused Tesco’s suppliers of “bleating” about being treated unfairly.
Tesco was recently forced to accept the findings of a damning GCA report that found it had been overcharging and delaying payments to its suppliers in order to improve its financial reports in the run-up to the 2014 accounts scandal. It is also believed that Tesco had been demanding payments from suppliers in exchange for having their products more prominently displayed on supermarket shelves.
Brook, however, has offered “a different spin on it”, telling the supermarket’s suppliers that they are simply “whinging about how supermarkets treat them.”
“It’s a tough economic climate out there and too many suppliers are bleating about the retailers. Most people wouldn't have a business without the supermarkets. I’m hearing a lot of whinging about unfair treatment but you have a choice at the end of the day.”
Technically suppliers may well have a choice, though Tesco’s breaching of a “legally binding code to protect groceries suppliers”, as highlighted by Tacon’s report, can hardly be called fair business practice, nor can anybody reasonably claim that suppliers were the ones in the wrong.
“The absolute focus on operating margin had damaging consequences for the business and our relationship with suppliers,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis after the publication of the FCA report. “This has now been fundamentally changed.”
But, according to Mr Brook, “Tesco has to report to its shareholders.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the supermarkets. We have a responsibility to our retailers to help them get through these times.”