Sainsbury has banned external field marketing agencies and told suppliers they must support the supermarket’s own agency.
It has employed REL Field Marketing to take over all compliance and availability checks on promotional secondary space over the Christmas period, and possibly beyond. A letter asking suppliers to support the ‘costly exercise’ was sent the same week The Grocer revealed Sainsbury was asking manufacturers for better trading terms (The Grocer, October 23). The supermarket denied the change was a money-generating scheme, but the move angered brand manufacturers and confused field marketing agencies.
“It is another revenue stream. Sainsbury wants manufacturers to fund its failing strategy,” said a source at one major brand manufacturer. “We would prefer our own third party sales force rather than people who are not familiar with the brand.”
The change affects the promotional activity of all brands in secondary space, such as plinths and pallets. Authorised field marketing agencies doing other work have also been banned from stores on a Wednesday and Thursday.
However, a Sainsbury spokeswoman said that successful tests in 10 stores. improved compliance and sales.
Fiona McLelland