Loblaw’s vendor demands spark CHHMA concern

TORONTO — As retailers grab up any product they can to keep their own customers satisfied, vendors are having trouble keeping enough inventory of their own. But efforts to stockpile can be hampered by limits to staff and output that were in place months ago based on yearly forecasting. Now, vendors are feeling further pressure from large retail customers even as infection rates are on the rise in many parts of the country. Loblaw Cos. revealed last week it would fully reinstate fines to suppliers for light shipments. That charge had been suspended in March as demand became unpredictable. The grocery giant had begun to phase fines in again in June while still allowing for light shipments when demand soared above forecasts.

According to Sam Moncada, president of the Canadian Hardware and Housewares Manufacturers Association, this is not a strategy that has emerged in the home improvement channel. But it’s the kind of thing that concerns his members. “The vendors are trying to be responsible and respectful, trying to meet the needs of all their customers,” he says. This kind of move would add pressure while the pandemic continues to rage and force them to play favourites with their retailer customers, he says.

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