Clive Beddall Major multiples have reacted with anger and astonishment to Sainsbury's decision to "jump the gun" and publish its own code of best trading practice in advance of an all industry version. None of the groups would be quoted by name "for fear of inflaming the row even further". However, a director of one of the big four told The Grocer: "We're miffed. We've all been talking about an industry code yet Sainsbury has grabbed the headlines in advance of its publication. That's not on." Another multiple executive added: "We're furious. We have been drawing up a company code of our own, but we've held back from publishing it to avoid prejudicing the talks for an all industry scheme." As exclusively reported in our last issue, Sainsbury CEO Sir Peter Davis and trading director Stuart Mitchell, with the help of nine major suppliers, have unveiled a new code from the multiple, bringing together important principles in one document for the first time. Sir Peter told The Grocer: "For far too long Sainsbury has been arrogant and confrontational in its relationships with suppliers. This new code is an attempt to put the record straight." He insisted the move was not designed to "outmanoeuvre" the other multiples, and was "complementary" to the all industry version. For months, six major chains ­ Sainsbury, Asda, Morrison, Tesco, Safeway and Somerfield ­ have been working with the IGD to complete an all industry code. The talks have been long and often controversial. And it is understood that when news of the Sainsbury move broke last weekend, one multiple threatened to walk away from the negotiations. And although there are understood to have been "hot telephone calls" about the Sainsbury announcement between the major participants in the industry code, IGD chief executive Joanne Denney insists that progress is being made towards its implementation. She said: "Despite the fact that we are in a fiercely competitive environment, the code being developed by the six leading retailers and facilitated by IGD is in extremely good shape. Each of the retailers has been reviewing its own procedures to support the guiding principles." Meanwhile, the NFU welcomed Sainsbury's code. It commented: "Farmers and growers have felt for some time that there ought to be controls regulating the demands that can be placed on suppliers by retailers. "We have been pressing the multiples for some time to produce a workable guide that recognises the needs of the retailer and producer, and we hope the other retailers will publish their own shortly." {{NEWS }}