Good news for suppliers to Ocado and B&M

Ocado and fast-growing discount chain B&M are now big enough retailers of groceries to be added to the list of retailers covered by the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP). 

These are the first new entrants to the list since GSCOP was created in 2009.  Each year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) checks whether grocery retailers’ annual turnover exceeds £1billion, the threshold for GSCOP to apply.

Peter Hill, Head of Remedies Enforcement at the CMA, said: “These rules mean that suppliers are protected from unfair business practices, and retailers can trade with confidence on a level playing field. Businesses supplying Ocado and B&M will now also benefit from this protection.” 

Other retailers subject to GSCOP are Asda, Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Wm Morrison, J Sainsbury, Tesco, Waitrose, Aldi Stores, Iceland Foods, and Lidl. 

Online retailer Amazon and Alliance Boots controversially remain outside of the code. There has been some disagreement over what qualifies retailers to fall under the code; the definition of ‘groceries’ currently includes food, pet-food, cleaning products, toiletries and household goods. However, the definition excludes other items such perfumes, cosmetics, electrical appliances, garden equipment and books.  John Noble, director of the British Brands Group, has called for the CMA to be more transparent about how the decision is reached, to include certain suppliers.

The next review will take place in the next financial year.

For more information or with any queries please contact Simon.Elsegood@Mills-Reeve.com   

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