Waitrose gives last-mintue backing to ombudsman plan

The deadline for responses to the Competition Commission’s plan to introduce an ombudsman to adjudicate on disputes between suppliers and supermarkets passed at the end of last month.

And as it did so, Waitrose stepped in to back the proposal, saying that it had ‘stood apart from the majority of retailers by telling the Competition Commission that we are willing to give the necessary undertakings to create a retail ombudsman’.
The grocer joined only two other retailers – Marks & Spencer and Aldi – in not opposing further regulation of the supermarket industry. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, Iceland, Somerfield and Lidl have refused to support the regulation, while the Co-operative Group remains undecided.
However, Waitrose has expressed a preference for the enforcement of the Grocery Supermarket Code of Practice (GSCOP) to be carried out by the OFT rather than by an ombudsman and says it continues to hold this view.“Rather than see the implementation of the GSCOP further delayed as the Competition Commission works through its fall back options, Waitrose would be willing to give the necessary undertakings to create the ombudsman, says a company statement.

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