Our Commerce Commission recently received more than 90 complaints from suppliers being strong armed by Progressive/Countdown.
They had a cursory look and found…nothing.
Countdown, despite the more than 90 complaints claimed vindication.\Meanwhile in Australia, their ACCC has found a remarkably similar story…and slammed the supermarket chain they nailed with millions in fines.
Australian supermarket chain Coles will pay A$11.25 million in fines and costs and potentially far more refunding suppliers for illegally squeezing them for funds.
The food and liquor giant’s settlement with the Australian competition watchdog over charges of unconscionable conduct in its treatment of grocery suppliers was accepted by the Federal Court on Monday.
The nation’s second largest supermarket chain had deliberately and illegally misused its market power to squeeze small suppliers for money, judge Michelle Gordon told the court.
The verdict was welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which also applauded Coles and Woolworths for working with it on a code of conduct.
However the industry body has warned members in writing about Woolworths also seeking to recoup money for “profit gaps”, although it has not facing any charges.
The payments to Coles filled what it called its “profit gaps” or targets, which in reality meant profit shifting and deducting money it was supposed to pay suppliers.
Because Coles represented a significant proportion of the small suppliers’ sales, it was able to successfully pressure them by threatening to stop buying their products, the court found.