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Tesco Delists Princes Products After Trade Dispute

Tesco has delisted as many as 70 Princes branded products from its stores following the break out of a trade dispute between the two companies. According to an investigation by The Grocer, over three months, 70 lines of Princes food and drink products have been removed from Tesco’s shelves, including oil, canned meat, fish, pasta, soup, baked beans, water and juice. It is unclear if any tuna products have faced the cut.

Research carried out by UK’s retail trade news magazine The Grocer identified that during the same period ASDA removed eight Princes products from its stores, and Sainsbury’s ousted three. It has not been disclosed what the dispute between Tesco and the Mitsubishi-owned Princes is about, however, there are suspicions that it may involve discussions over annual lump sum rebates from Princes to Tesco.

With 3000 stores across the country, Tesco accounts for just less than 30 percent of sales for the total UK food retail market, and is the market leader. The supermarket chain reached sales of 48,216 million pounds (USD 77,036 million) for the 2012/2013 financial year. The total UK grocery market was worth 163.2 billion pounds in 2012, and was forecast to rise.

The large UK retailer still continues to supply around 190 Princes products, but further cuts from the line of goods is expected. As well as retailing products under its own name, the Princes brand also includes Napolina, Shippam’s, Crisp ‘n Dry and Jucee.

Disputes between Princes and Tesco echo those of a similar nature in 2011, when Tesco was involved in rows with one of Britain’s largest branded food producers, Premier Foods. Under its umbrella the company holds popular British brands such as Bisto, Hovis, Sharwood’s and Mr Kipling. In 2011, Tesco delisted a quarter of Premier food branded lines from its stores. The cut forced the supplier to announce a profits warning to the Stock Exchange and admitted the trade dispute had cost it 10 million pounds.

A spokesperson from Tesco said: “We keep our ranges under review to ensure we offer our customers the best value and choice available.”