A host of major retailers could struggle to meet the February deadline to comply with the new suppliers’ code, according to press reports.

The new Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) – which will toughen up regulations governing suppliers’ dealings with the likes of Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and The Co-operative Group – takes effect in 12 weeks’ time.

But many retailers have "vastly underestimated how much work needs to be done", the Daily Telegraph claims.

The paper reports that although Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are likely to meet the 4 February deadline, other retailers whose UK revenue exceeds £1bn a year – including Iceland, Aldi and Lidl – could struggle to meet that timeframe.

“We expect retailers will take the necessary measures in order to meet these requirements, given they will help promote positive relationships with their suppliers,” the Competition Commission said in a statement.

The UK’s big four supermarkets are already covered by an existing code of conduct.

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