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    Government launches survey for grocery suppliers

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    The Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) has today (15 January 2024) launched its annual groceries sector survey and wants to hear from as many suppliers as possible about how they have been treated by the 14 large retailers.

    The survey, run by the independent polling company YouGov, is one of the most important ways for suppliers to confidentially tell the GCA about their experiences working with the Retailers. The questions cover individual Retailer behaviour and issues affecting the industry. The responses will help the GCA understand which Retailers are perceived as the most and least Code compliant and how cost price negotiations and other issues are impacting suppliers.

    Mark White, Groceries Code Adjudicator said, “My last two surveys showed how inflation and cost price increase negotiations have strained relationships between Retailers and suppliers. However, I know that suppliers have faced a wide range of other issues over the last twelve months, including de-lists and inaccurate forecasting.

    “I want to hear from as many suppliers as possible about your perceptions of Retailer behaviour and the key issues affecting the sector. Your input will help me to focus my engagement with the Retailers to ensure they are treating all suppliers fairly and lawfully.”

    The 2023 Survey

    The 2023 survey was the third survey in a row with more than 2,000 responses. These responses highlighted supplier concerns including about the continued impact of inflation. 28 per cent of respondents reported a refusal to consider a CPI or an unreasonable delay in reaching a decision on a CPI request, which was the most reported issue over the past six years.

    Furthermore, delays and errors in implementing price rises likely exacerbated other issues faced by suppliers:

    • 25 per cent of suppliers said they had experienced inadequate processes and procedures in place to enable invoice discrepancies to be resolved quickly; up from 18 per cent in 2022.
    • 16 per cent of suppliers said they had experienced data input errors (e.g. pricing) not resolved promptly (within seven days); up from 10 per cent in 2022.

    Despite this, perceived Code compliance across the Retailers improved compared to 2022. The average compliance score across the 14 Retailers was 92 per cent while 8 of the 13 Retailers included in the 2022 survey improved their overall compliance score by 3 per cent or more. M&S took the top spot in 2023 with a record high score of 99 per cent.

    The survey is open for six weeks, closing on 25 February with the results published later in 2024. The GCA will commission YouGov to conduct anonymous follow-up interviews with a select group of respondents to explore supplier concerns in more detail. Suppliers will be able to indicate their willingness to participate in these interviews at the end of the survey.

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