The UK’s Competition Commission is investigating claims that the late payment of invoices by leading supermarkets is damaging suppliers, a spokesperson for the government watchdog told just-food this morning (8 September).

An article that appeared in Accountancy Age earlier this week suggested that major retailers are increasingly late with their payments to small-scale suppliers. The report said that during the first half of 2006 Tesco paid only 67% of its small invoices on time, down from 87% last year.

“The inquiry is focusing on three main subjects and one of these is the supply chain,” a spokesperson for the competition body explained. “This means the relationship between retailers and suppliers, including payment terms. Given that this is our focus, the article could have some relevance.

“We picked up on the article and got in touch with Accountancy Age to request a copy of their research material. It is a potentially interesting piece of work.”