Supermarkets take steps to address ACCC’s concerns over code

ALDI, Coles and Woolworths have taken steps to clarify the implementation of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct with their suppliers following concerns raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Woolworths and ALDI have written to their suppliers clarifying that suppliers are able to negotiate the terms of their Grocery Supply Agreements (GSAs). They have also clarified the effect of the code on their GSAs and the circumstances in which certain payments may arise.

Coles has explained to suppliers how Coles is implementing the requirements under the code and clarified that it is prepared to negotiate GSA terms.

The retailers have also confirmed their commitment to the code and detailed the steps they have taken to ensure that suppliers are aware of some of the key protections offered by the code. These steps have resolved the ACCC’s concerns, says ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

“One of the purposes of the code is to provide certainty to suppliers, who are often in a much weaker bargaining position when dealing with retailers,” he said.

“In order to provide that certainty, the ACCC expects retailers to be specific about circumstances in which they will seek payments from suppliers before they seek such a payment.

“The ACCC will continue to monitor compliance with the code and encourages any suppliers experiencing issues with the implementation of the code to contact the ACCC for a confidential discussion.

“We welcome the commitment given and the actions taken by the relevant supermarkets to address the concerns raised by the ACCC.”