GCA warns of unfair retail practices amid inflation

The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) Mark White has warned unfair CPI processes between retailers and suppliers could unravel the relationships built during the pandemic. 

The Adjudicator published a set of “golden rules” for retailers to navigate the increase of CPI demands by suppliers. 

Within the seven rules, White emphasised the need for “clear communication” and prioritisation of smaller suppliers. 

READ MORE: GCA announces new best practice statement for supermarkets

However, he warned that retailers should only ask for “specific information from suppliers that is needed to make a CPI decision” and that there should be no “automatic delists” following said negotiations. 

The final rule reminds buyers to abide competition law and never ask suppliers about other retailers’ plans or retail prices. 

White also asked suppliers to come forward if their CPI requests were mishandled and that he would be, “particularly interested in hearing about any examples of unfounded claims that the Code requires suppliers to give fixed notice of any CPI.” 

The warning comes as the consumer price index (CPI) measure for food inflation rose to 5.4% in December 2021, the highest level in three decades. 

According to the Bank of England, the CPI is expected to rise to 6% in April and other forecast analysts said it could reach 7% unless the government intervenes.

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