Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon’s report into alleged breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) by Tesco will not be published until the New Year.
Tacon had been expected to announce the findings of the report this month, but today she announced that the process had taken “slightly longer” than the anticipated nine months.
The investigation began in February after Tesco handed evidence to Tacon in the wake of the original Deloitte probe into the £263m black hole in its accounts.
When she launched her probe, Tacon said she had “a reasonable suspicion” that the retailer had breached GSCOP rules, with the evidence understood to relate to large sums deducted from suppliers’ accounts by Tesco for areas such as promotions, better placement of products and late deliveries.
In September Tacon invoked her powers to demand suppliers give evidence after failing to get the voluntary responses she wanted, At the time sources suggested this could cause a significant delay in the investigation.
As well as the delayed report, the Adjudicator revealed she had met with groceries suppliers over issues surrounding packaging and design
Tacon said the position on packaging had improved in the past two years, with an increase in the choice of retailer-approved packaging supply companies, more flexibility for suppliers and the perception that costs were reasonable.
However, suppliers reported concerns with artwork and design services, telling her they often had no choice but to use a retailer’s designated supplier.
“Issues included inefficient processes, high costs compared with what they pay for similar work with other artwork and design houses and frequent design changes,” said Tacon.
“I have now raised these concerns with the code compliance officers and will report on next steps in a future newsletter.”