WASHINGTON — The Association of Sales & Marketing Companies here said Friday that it is opposed to the Preferred Broker Program that Delhaize America launched last week.
“Delhaize is attempting to use its economic power, with faulty legal demands, to force manufacturers to use their designated broker when the right to select the agency which represents a seller has always been the seller's,” said Mark W. Baum, president and chief executive officer, ASMC.
As previously reported, Delhaize issued a list of 33 approved sales agencies that its vendors are allowed to use to call on the company's buyers, which it said was part of an effort to make its category management processes more efficient.
Baum said that vendors should have control over how their products are brought to market, and that Delhaize has set a "dangerous precedent" with this initiative.
"The sales and marketing agencies are required by their contracts, their ethics, and the law to take their direction and control from their manufacturer clients, not retailers," he said. "In effect, Delhaize is trying to abrogate those legal requirements by telling manufacturers that Delhaize will make the decision of who has a right to represent the manufacturer at Delhaize banner stores including Food Lion, Hannaford Bros. and others."
He added that while Delhaize’s proposed program allows a supplier to pitch its products directly to Delhaize buyers, he believes this is a "non-option" that is "the equivalent of a lockout and restraint of trade."
In an interview with SN earlier this week, Mark Doiron, chief supply officer, Delhaize America, said the company has been "transparent" with sales agencies throughout the planning of the initiative and that they had contributed to its creation.