Supermarkets still squeezing suppliers in agreements, says ACCC chairman

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s chairman has criticised major supermarket chains over their implementation of the voluntary grocery industry code of conduct.

The Australian reports that chairman Rod Sims has said Woolworths and Aldi had continue to pressure suppliers, ahead of the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s Industry Leaders Forum today.

“It is unfortunate that the major retailers haven’t got off to a great start in implementing the code,” The Australian reports Sims as saying.

The code was launched in July, and aimed to bring in a truce between suppliers and retailers.

“The ACCC had concerns that some retailers, particularly Aldi and Woolworths, were presenting new supply agreements in a way that might give the impression that suppliers are not able to negotiate the terms of the agreement,” Sims said.

“We have also had concerns about the low level of detail provided in some supply agreements about the circumstances in which retailers can require certain payments. We have written to these retailers expressing our concerns.

Fairfax reports that the ACCC will not be pushing for a mandatory code of conduct, though said early-stage feedback suggested the major chains had not negotiated in good faith.

"They won't stop trying to screw down on price," an unnamed industry representative told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"But at the same time some of the practices of the past don't seem to be there."