The Office of Fair Trading is writing to suppliers' organisations and
the supermarkets to see if any changes need to be made in their code of

Responses requested by 28 March

17 February 2003


The OFT is to conduct a review of the Supermarkets Code of Practice,
one year after it came into effect.

The Code followed a Competition Commission report in October 2000,
which recommended a code of practice to put relations between
supermarkets and their suppliers on a clearer and more predictable

The OFT is today writing to a wide variety of suppliers'
organisations and the supermarkets themselves. The OFT is asking for
views on the Code and how it has been working in practice. Responses
have been requested by 28 March.

At the end of the review, the OFT will report on whether the Code is
working effectively and whether it should be changed.


1. The Competition Commission report "Supermarkets: A report on the
supply of groceries from multiple stores in the United Kingdom", CM
4842, was published on 10 October 2000. See <
http://www>. competition- Copies are available
from the Stationery Office. It made a number of adverse findings
concerning the practices of supermarkets in relation to their

2. Copies of the Code of Practice are available as an attachment to
the Department of Trade and Industry's press release of 31 October
2001 (P/2001/606). See <>

3. The Code covers Asda, Safeway, Sainsbury and Tesco (all have a
market share above 8%).

4. The Code does not apply:
- to supermarkets with a market share below 8%
- to non-grocery items
- to issues not identified by the Competition Commission in their
report as adverse effects on the public interest and intended to be
addressed by the Code.

5. In its response of December 2002 to Recommendation 9 of the report
of the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food (Cm 5709).
(See <>
/response/section1.pdf) the Government committed the OFT to
publishing an 'annual report on how the code has been working,
particularly in relation to dispute resolution'.

6. The Government is committed to reviewing the Code annually. This
review will be treated as a separate issue from the supermarket
mergers currently under consideration by the OFT.

7. In this press release the functions of the Director General of
Fair Trading (DGFT) are for simplicity described as the functions of
"the OFT". The Enterprise Act 2002 will replace the office of the
DGFT with the OFT, to which will be transferred the DGFT's functions.
The relevant provisions of the Enterprise Act are expected to come
into force in April 2003.

PUBLIC enquiries: 0845 7224499
OFT reports and consumer information leaflets are available free
from: OFT, PO Box 366, Hayes UB3 1XB 0870 6060321