Asda is considering lodging a complaint with the OFT after Umbro red-carded its request to purchase a consignment of England replica World Cup football shirts.
The retailer said the refusal was nonsensical, particularly as it had existing dealings with Umbro on an affiliated range - the Three Lions clothing range.
Despite this, Umbro has refused to supply it with official team shirts, forcing it to source the new red and gold away strips on the grey market.
“The situation is a débâcle, and we are totally nonplussed,” said an Asda spokeswoman.
After months of complicated negotiations, Asda managed to get hold of 22,000 shirts from grey market sources, but said that the procedure had been costly and time-consuming.
The spokeswoman said: “The problem with the grey market is that it is much more expensive. We have had to go through five middlemen in Europe. As a result, our margins have been reduced.”
Umbro said that it did not consider Asda to be a suitable retail environment in which to market the kit. A spokesman said: “We believe that the authentic England kit must be marketed, branded and merchandised in the correct way - it is sportswear after all. The Three Lions Range is leisure wear rather than technical sportswear, and therefore suits the retail environment in Asda.”
Mathew McEachran, an Investec analyst, said: “Historically, brand manufacturers have refused to sell to supermarkets such as Asda, and in the past Tesco, for fear of devaluing their brand.”
Local government regulator Lacors has delayed the publication of the draft of the new Trading Standards test-purchasing code of practice until the end of this month.
Assistant director of the trading standards and regulations team at Lacors, Wendy Martin, said that the board was currently “not minded” to allow children to lie during test purchasing.

Tesco is building two bio-fuel factories to meet growing demand for alternative energy sources. Chairman David Reid told the National Farmers’ Union annual conference in Birmingham that Tesco was constructing a plant in Immingham, Humberside, to convert rapeseed oil into bio-diesel. Talks are also under way to develop a second plant near Liverpool. Tesco sells bio-fuels at 40% of its petrol stations.
Harrods this week opened the doors at its first c-store, situated opposite its flagship London store in Knightsbridge. Harrods 102, situated at 102 Brompton Road, offers essentials such as eggs, milk and bread alongside more unusual services such as massages, an oxygen spa bar and a Chinese herbalist.

Fuller’s has announced that it is closing its Gales brewery in Horndean, Hampshire, at the end of the month following a strategic review. Fuller’s said that production would be transferred to its brewery in Chiswick. The Campaign for Real Ale condemned the move.

Consumers are eating more fruit and veg and checking food labels. A survey by the FSA found that the number of consumers aware of the five-a-day message has risen from 43% in 2000 to 67% in 2005, while 60% checked labels for salt and sodium content, up from 42% in 2000.
Gaelle Walker
draft code delay
harrods opens 102
Brewery to close
Message on a label