Major supermarkets draw watchdog’s ire

Shopper, supermarket, aisle,The Australian competition watchdog has raised concerns about the way Aldi, Coles and Woolworths treat suppliers when dumping products from their supermarket shelves.

Rod Sims, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, said supermarkets need to improve the way they notify suppliers when delisting their products to avoid breaching the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct. Sims said in some cases, the supermarket giants have failed to give reasonable notice before delisting products.

Under code legislation, which came into effect on July 1, suppliers have default protections in place for all major supermarkets. Under the code, supermarkets can only delist a supplier’s product for genuine commercial reasons and must give reasonable written notice. Supermarkets must also inform the supplier of their right to have decisions reviewed by a senior buyer.

Sims said the ACCC has raised concerns with Aldi, Coles and Woolworths following recent compliance checks known as code audits.

“Some delist notices did not give suppliers reasonable notice; the worst examples were delistings that appear to have occurred on the same day as the notice was served,” Sims told the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s forum in Canberra on Tuesday.

Sims said the ACCC has raised these concerns with the big three supermarkets following recent compliance checks and expects them to address the issues quickly.

He also said the delisting notices and other issues raised in the AFGC survey were disappointing as the supermarkets “are working to make real and positive changes to their dealings with suppliers.”

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