Retail in Asia

In Shops

Woolworths promises not to bruise suppliers as it becomes first to sign code

Woolworths will become the first of the major Australian supermarket chains to sign up to the federal government’s code of conduct aimed at curbing unfair treatment of grocery suppliers, with chief executive Grant O’Brien saying his firm intends to commit to the code from July 1.

The code comes after more than two years of negotiations between the supermarket chains, the Australian Food and Grocery Council and government, and follows consistent criticism by suppliers about the two major chains, Coles and Woolworths, using their market clout unfairly to pressure suppliers and increase their own profits.

The bill outlining the code of conduct was tabled in the federal parliament in March this year and has been heralded by federal Small Business Minister Bruce Billson as an important step to provide fairness and clarity in Australia’s $88 billion grocery industry. It still needs to pass through the Senate.