Holland & Barrett has been accused of imposing an “outrageous” condition that its suppliers advertise in its in-store magazine in return for staying on shelves.
In an email seen by The Grocer, the retailer wrote to suppliers on Monday to remind them that advertising in its Healthy magazine, and spinoff Healthy for Men, was part of the conditions for being listed.
The letter from Holland & Barrett assistant category manager Jamie Roberts said: “I am writing to confirm your agreement to participate in Healthy magazine. Healthy and Healthy for Men are key elements of our marketing programme … Just to confirm that advertising in Healthy is a requirement of product listing and all suppliers need to do so.”
Suppliers were given just 24 hours to confirm their agreement. The move follows controversy after Holland & Barrett last year pushed through what suppliers claimed were “dictatorial” cost reductions of at least 5%.
One supplier called the latest move a “pretty outrageous try on”. “This chain focuses on these sort of tactics to drive their bottom line and misses the strategic opportunity that could make them world leading.” There have also been calls from some suppliers for Holland & Barrett to become regulated by Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon.
As well as its standalone stores, last summer Holland & Barrett launched a partnership within Tesco stores across the country.
A spokesman for Holland & Barrett said: “We work with more than 1,000 suppliers who to our knowledge all are content with the benefits and value from advertising in our in-store magazine, where options start at £1,000. Like other major retail businesses, we do ask suppliers to support their listings with advertising and promotions.”