Supermarket giant Coles has admitted to threatening suppliers who wouldn’t pay extra to be involved in its new supply chain program.
The SMH reports threats included not stocking new products and refusing to provide sales forecast data to suppliers who refused to sign up to the Active Retail Collaboration program.
Defending itself against allegations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Coles made over 98 admissions and has rejected claims it has broken consumer law by acting unconscionably, using misleading information and influence to force a suppliers’ hand.
Running an 18 month investigation into the program, the ACCC alleged Coles used misinformation about savings suppliers could secure from the program in an effort to obtain payments. It claims suppliers were threatened with commercial consequences including banning promotions and new product development if a rebate ranging between 0.7 per cent and 1 per cent of sales was not paid.
Coles said the program was always voluntary and confirmed it consulted with suppliers about the value of participating in the initiative.
The case is due back in the Federal Court in Melbourne next month.
There’s more here.
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