Tesco has hit back at criticism over its treatment of suppliers. Responding to a Financial Times investigation into the retailers relationship with suppliers over payment terms, Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco’s corporate affairs director denied that the retailer was doing anything underhand.

She said: “We are simply working smartly and efficiently for the good of our customers, shareholders and suppliers.”

The investigation revealed that over the last five years, the amount owed to creditors by Tesco has risen by £1.5bn.

The Office of Fair Trading has yet to examine supermarket’s use of longer payment terms but said that it would be prepared to if it received complaints from suppliers.