TORONTO — The head of Sobeys Inc. says the grocer won’t follow its Canadian competitors in unilaterally hiking supplier fees, calling the practice “hard to believe and repugnant.”
Michael Medline, president and chief executive of Sobeys and its parent company Empire Company Ltd., says the decision by some grocery chains to impose fee increases on suppliers has left consumer goods companies feeling bullied.
He told a virtual talk with the Empire Club of Canada on Wednesday that the behaviour could hurt farmers, consumers and “mom and pop” food retailers, adding that it’s “just plain bad for Canada.”
Medline says the practice is also unfair to large grocers like Sobeys that try to play by the rules and take care of shareholders but “in the right way.”
Loblaw Companies Ltd., Walmart Canada and a national buying group that represents Metro Inc. have said they plan to increase fees.
Medline says the relationship between big grocers and suppliers in Canada is the worst relationship he’s seen in his decades of retail experience.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:L, TSX:MRU, TSX:EMP.A)
The Canadian Press