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Suppliers On Watch As Woolies Walks Without Charge

After last week’s ruling in the federal court by Judge David Yates that dismissed claims by the ACCC that Woolworths broke the law by demanding retrospective payments from suppliers to plug a hole in its profits, grocery suppliers are said to be on watch.

“We will obviously keep a close eye on how the retailers respond to this judgment,” Gary Dawson, chief executive of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We think it would be pretty appalling if it were seen as a green light to do the same thing again,” Mr Dawson said.

“Some members have reflected on the fact that Woolworths management and its chairman [Gordon Cairns] are saying they will be held to a higher standard in the future. We’re looking to them to make good on that commitment.”

He advised the SMH that the kind of behavior detailed in the court case would arguably fall foul of the new Food and Grocery Code of Conduct in future, which sets minimum standards for how retailers and wholesalers deal with each other.

“Clearly the whole point of what has been happening over the past few years is trying to improve supplier relationships,” Mr Dawson said.

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