DunnHumby bosses will be keeping a close eye on the row between Tesco and Unilever and keeping their fingers crossed that it does not escalate to other companies in the FMCG sector, which make up its customer base for Clubcard data.
So-called “MarmiteGate” has been sparked by Unilever claims that it has been forced to raise prices as a result of the falling value of the pound in the wake of the Brexit vote.
But Tesco has rejected the higher prices, prompting Unilever to stop deliveries to Tesco stores, leading to Unilever products such as Marmite, Flora, Persil, Dove, PG Tips, Vaseline and Ben & Jerry’s no longer being available on Tesco’s website. They will also not be restocked when supermarket shelves empty.
But the row also threatens to scupper DunnHumby’s relationship with the Dutch-Anglo giant, which has been one of the biggest users of Clubcard data since the scheme launched in 1995, tapping into valuable shopper insights. Other leading manufacturers which use the information include Mondelez, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Danone and Kimberly-Clark.
One industry source said: “Obviously DunnHumby will be watching the situation closely, although as the company is actually owned by Tesco its hands are tied anyway. The tough stance on pricing is commendable, whether Tesco will be able to take similar action against other FMCG firms remains to be seen, but it just goes to show the delicate nature of the relationships between suppliers and retailers.”
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