Blog: Petah MarianIndustry seeks unity, while retailers make jibes

Petah Marian | 13 October 2010

The ongoing rivalry among the UK retailers did not end yesterday when senior executives from the industry met at the IGD's annual convention.

The digs between the retailers continued in a jocular fashion, with Tesco's commercial and marketing director Richard Brasher suggesting that Waitrose MD Mark Price "look at the other 21,000 products" his company offers after Waitrose said it was price matching Tesco on 1,000 items. Brasher quipped he was "pleased we're used as a benchmark for value".

Meanwhile, Dalton Philips could not stop himself sticking the boot in following calls from Asda international chief marketing officer Rick Bendel for "increased accountability" and an end to small print. Philips said saying that he checked Asda's website at lunchtime and the fine print was still up there.

All of this came as speakers at the event called for collaboration between retailers and suppliers to overcome issues like sustainability, ethical practices and consumer health. Speakers said that together, the industry could push further and faster, if it pushed together, citing the IGD's sustainable distribution schemes.

Bendel closed his presentation, which at times seemed like a political manifesto, calling for increased honesty, responsibility and accountability within the industry by suggesting that, if retailers do not improve their records on issues like climate change, the Government will legislate to do it for them.

Tesco's Brasher did not pretend there was a false sense of unity at the event. "The hallmark of our industry is not coy collaboration but competition," the man set to be Tesco UK's next boss said.


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