Two weeks ago Asda's Dave Cheesewright told readers of The Grocer they should call him direct if they had any complaints about their treatment during the multiple's recent tough price negotiations.

This week the chain's chief operating officer confirmed that he had received two or three calls from suppliers since the article appeared in The Grocer (April 15, p4).

Although he was yet to follow up on these calls, Cheesewright said they would be dealt with imminently.

The news came as yet more allegations of unfair treatment by the multiple surfaced.

One supplier said that there had been threats of legal letters being sent out to those suppliers who had not complied with Asda's recent discussions about business terms. This follows a series of tough price negotiations, in which Asda was seeking to improve its buying performance, which it estimated was 3% weaker than Tesco's (The Grocer, April 8, p4).

Cheesewright did not deny the existence of the letters.

However, he said that they were not part of the Investment for Growth strategy, of which the ongoing negotiations with suppliers were part.

"We always hope that people will come and talk to us if they have questions about our business. That's the way we operate," said Cheesewright.

He said that he was confused by the attention that was being given to Asda's methods.

"Every retailer drops prices and promotes - that is what we do. I get somewhat bemused by this view that there is something very different going on at the moment."