According to The Grocer’s latest wholesaler reader panel, a whopping 86% of wholesalers would like to see suppliers come clean on prices.
Almost all of those surveyed agreed that if suppliers provided transparent price lists, it would mean wholesalers could cut deals enabling their independent customers to compete with multiples’ low pricing strategies.
But one wholesaler had reservations. “Openness is no guarantee that everybody buys at the same price. There has to be some recognition of scale and efficiencies.”
Opinion was divided as to whether suppliers could ever achieve an open pricing policy. More than half felt they could. “It’s not only achievable, it’s a sensible long term strategy if they value a long term future with more than one customer - Tesco,” commented one wholesaler.
Most wholesalers said that they did not deal with any suppliers operating a full open pricing policy. A minority did, but one said the number was “far too few”.
None of those contacted thought it would be wise to enforce open pricing by law. “We operate in a free market economy and while there should be protection against abuse of dominant power, it should not restrict people investing in business for growth,” said one.
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is investigating whether supermarkets selling kits claiming to counter hospital-based infections may be increasing risks to patients. Concerns have been voiced by the Royal College of Nursing amid claims supermarkets are “playing on people’s fears”.
Tesco has become the first national operator to sell contact lenses in store, by phone and online through its pharmacy business, provided customers have a valid specification from an optician. The supermarket claimed the move would slash the cost of lenses by up to 150%.
Sources close to BWG Group, owner of Bargain Booze, say that a memorandum of information listing private company details has been distributed to venture capital groups bidding for the off-licence business, but withheld from Unwins and Thresher.
Marks and Spencer claims to have become the first retailer in the UK to trial the use of recycled plastic (rPET) in food and drink packaging on a large scale. It is incorporating 1,500 tonnes of recycled plastic in its food-to-go packaging trial.
Leatherhead Food International is launching a study to find out how food and drink makers can reduce sugar levels in processed foods. LFI hopes to cut sugar levels by up to 20%.
The Association of Convenience Stores is looking for new ‘Campaign Champions’ to highlight the continued threat of consolidation in the grocery market to small shops. Some 150 convenience retailers are to ask local MPs to represent their views to Parliamentary All Party Small Shops Group’s High Street UK 2015 inquiry.
Health kit probe
Tesco sees better
BWG snubs rivals
M&S recycling trial
Sweeter they fall
Small but vocal