Farmers Guardian – 25th June 2019
97 per cent of suppliers said Aldi complies consistently well or mostly well with the code.
Aldi has topped the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) annual survey for the sixth year, with 97 per cent of suppliers stating the retailer complied well or mostly well with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).
B&M came bottom with 81 per cent of suppliers saying it complied well or mostly well.
And the GCA, Christine Tacon, was looking to work with retailers to ensure all their ‘practices, systems and behaviours are designed and structured’ to meet their obligations as she enters her final year in the role.
It comes as the annual survey revealed continuing improvement in retailer behaviour, with only four in ten suppliers reporting experiencing an issue for the second year.
Last year’s top concern for suppliers – delay in payments – fell from 19 per cent to 13 per cent.
Forecasting was now the issue most reported by suppliers but it has also continued to decline.
Co-op was the top improver, after significant scrutiny from the GCA following a year-long investigation which found it had breached the code.
Ms Tacon said Co-op’s should be pleased the steps it has taken were being noticed by suppliers.
She added the investigation could be a ‘game-changer’ for the sector.
“The root causes I identified as a result of that investigation showed the extent to which the retailer had failed to take charge of its own Code compliance,” she said.
“Opportunities to manage and minimise its compliance risk had been missed, and themes emerged which were not only common to Co-op’s breaches of the two paragraphs of the Code I investigated, but also familiar to careful readers of my previous two case studies.
“I now intend to build the lessons I learnt into my approach with all regulated retailers. I want to leave this role having achieved all I set out to do – and more.”
She was also planning to examine how the code should apply to the buying alliances, joint ventures and merged entities run by the retailers.
On the debate as to whether the role of the GCA should be extended she said it would mean ‘significant change’ in the way the work was done.
She said it would mean altering the levy funding model and the collaborative approach she had established would not have been possible with a larger cohort or regulated businesses.
“And thought would have to be given to the fit between any new price-based measures and the competition position underpinning everything the GCA is currently established to do,” she added.
Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi, said: “We are incredibly proud to have topped the GCA’s annual survey every year since its inception six years ago. This reflects the close relationship we have with suppliers, which is built on mutual trust and understanding.
“The partnerships we have established with our suppliers over many years allow us to source the very best products for our customers.
“As we move towards our long-term target of 1,200 stores by 2025, this presents an opportunity for our suppliers to grow with us too.
“We currently source from more than 1,000 British businesses and look forward to working with many more in the coming years.”