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Australia: Woolworths beats ACCC supplier mistreatment case

 |  December 12, 2016

The Federal Court has dismissed the competition watchdog’s allegations that Woolworths squeezed grocery suppliers for up to $60 million to help plug gaps in the retailer’s profits.

The court today cleared Woolworths of breaching Australian consumer law by acting unconscionably against suppliers when it attempted to demand payments from suppliers in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2014 under its “Mind the Gap” scheme.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said he was disappointed by the ruling and called Woolworths’ conduct “unfortunate”.

The ACCC launched legal action against Woolworths in December last year, accusing the supermarket giant of unconscionable conduct by making undue, unreasonable and unfair demands for money from suppliers to fill a gap in Woolworths’ profits.

The ACCC alleged that Woolworths escalated demands against suppliers which refused to pay up.

In some cases, it was alleged, Woolworths threatened suppliers with consequences such as less marketing support in stores and in some cases delisting from the supermarket shelves.

Full Content: The Australian

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