Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Christine Tacon has launched an investigation into Co-operative Group Limited, believing it may have broken the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (the Code).
After escalating her concerns with Co-operative Group Limited in line with her published collaborative approach to regulation, the GCA has decided that 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.
The investigation will consider the extent, scale and impact of practices which may have resulted in suppliers being de-listed with no, or short, fixed notice periods unilaterally imposed by Co-operative Group Limited without due consideration of published GCA de-listing guidance, particularly in relation to a project called ‘Right Range; Right Store’. It will also consider the extent, scale and impact of practices which may have resulted in the introduction of charges without reasonable notice to suppliers, such as depot quality control and benchmarking charges.
Christine Tacon said, “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.”
Jo Whitfield, CEO of Co-op Food, added: “We care deeply about our relationships with our suppliers and we are very sorry that in these two areas we have failed to live up to our usual high standards. We are already addressing the issues with the GCA and our suppliers and we hope the investigation will help bring to light any additional cases so that we can put these right as quickly as possible.”
Photo Credit: Co-op – Picture by Jon Super