Co-operative Retail Services claims groceries suppliers are refusing to deal with its Leos, Pioneer and Lo Cost supermarkets in protest at major in-store price cuts.
CRS claims some suppliers of cut-price brands – including Anchor Butter – are either refusing to supply the chain, or are increasing prices on re-orders to stop CRS making continued reductions.
According to CRS, the suppliers taking action have had their products included in the chain’s “Super Six” Low Price Zone promotion. These are six items reduced in rotation even further than the 150 lines included in the year-long promotion. The initiative was launched nationally two months ago.
Anchor Foods claims it has supported the latest promotion, supplying CRS with large volumes of butter. Anchor sales director Mike Darragh says: “We supplied CRS with a very large amount before the promotion. We have a quota on the amount of butter we can import from New Zealand. If we supplied everything CRS wants it would be at the expense of our other customers.”
Anchor’s 500g butter was being sold at 99p between April 8 and 20. It has an average retail price of 1.63.
CRS refuses to identify the other suppliers involved, which include a fresh produce supplier and a major drinks company.
A spokeswoman says there are no plans to axe the “Super Six” campaign because the chain has 18,000 other product lines it can include in the promotion.
David Messom, CRS food division’s buying controller, says: “We will maintain our stance to ensure all our shoppers receive a wide choice of products at a price they can afford.”