from Duncan Swift, partner, Grant Thornton

Sir; From the comments made by Andy Bond (The Grocer, October 22, p4 and October 29, p36), I think that he and his buying team at Asda need a reality check on the issue of what Asda gets from suppliers.
My team deals exclusively with food producer/processor management teams to help them alleviate causes of financial distress and enhance the profitability of their businesses.
While other major supermarkets exhibit varying degrees of sins and omissions in their dealings with their suppliers, in the context of Asda the causes of Bond’s woes are relatively simple to identify.
EDLP equates to every day low gross margin with little available for supplier NPD if the serviceability costs of the multiple’s account is included in the assessment of the true economic return of that account to the supplier.
From my experience, Asda buyers do not have an exemplary record in “working hard at supplier relationships” - the recent Ferndale Foods case being a prime, but not sole, example.
Hence, why should any right-minded supplier with a great new product idea approach Asda to retail it at prices that do not sustain the supplier’s business and with no other relationship benefits?
In my view, if Bond wishes to improve the position he needs to look closer to home and take steps to stop Asda’s own adoption of bully-boy tactics - which he decries as taking place elsewhere - and should seek to foster more balanced, respectful, mutually rewarding and long-term partnering arrangements with suppliers.