Ken Murphy

Tesco CEO Ken Murphy has blamed its fall down the GCA table on the retailer “fighting the fight” for consumers against inflation.

Murphy said today there was an “inevitable tension” with suppliers trying to get through CPI requests and Tesco seeking to keep prices down.

The supermarket giant today announced a 9% year-on-year increase in sales for the first quarter of the year and Murphy said it was “working tirelessly” to battle inflation.

However, the release of yesterday’s GCA table, based on an annual YouGov poll of suppliers, showed it has fallen from second place to sixth, despite the cut-off for the survey coming before Tesco’s call on suppliers to start paying fulfilment fees for using its online and Booker wholesale services. Experts are predicting this move could see it fall further down the table next year.

“The ranking in the GCA table is very, very tight,” Murphy told The Grocer. “We are only talking about a percentage point of two in the difference, and I’m really pleased that more than 95% of suppliers recognise we are compliant with the code.

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“However, there is an inevitable tension between retailers and suppliers over the passing on of costs and how we fight the fight for customers.”

Murphy said Tesco highly valued relations with suppliers and pointed to the support it had provided over the cost of living crisis for the pig industry and egg suppliers as examples.

Murphy also gave more reasoning behind the coming range reset at Tesco under its Fit for Change programme, which is set to see the biggest range review since predecessor Dave Lewis’s Project Reset.

“We have seen a giant leap in the Technology to enable us to predict what customers will buy and where. This review is all about making sure we combine minimising the cost of servicing those customers with making sure we optimise the range so our customers have enough of the product they want to find.”