Asda ‘treated suppliers fairly’

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THE boss of Leeds-based Asda says he is confident his company did not break rules relating to the treatment of suppliers which a rival supermarket is accused of.

As an official investigation was announced into practices at supermarket giant Tesco - which could be extended to other retailers - the chief executive of Asda, Andy Clarke, said he was confident his own company had done nothing wrong.

Mr Clarke commented after the Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon said she had a “reasonable suspicion” that Tesco has breached the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).

At this stage the investigation will focus on Tesco plc only and will look into practices including delays in payments to suppliers.

However it could be extended to other supermarkets if evidence is presented to the GCA that the same practices have been carried out by other retailers.

Mr Clarke said he was confident his company had stayed within the code of practice. He said: “Yes I’m confident we are okay.

“If she (Christine Tacon) expands the investigation into all retailers, that’s her choice. Of course we will co-operate.”

Asked if it was just Tesco that is affected, Mr Clarke said: “It’s certainly not in our business. Dave (Lewis, head of Tesco) is as shocked as anybody.”

A Tesco spokesperson said it had put in place strong compliance processes and it was changing the way it worked with suppliers.