In The News

David Sables, CEO, and the Sentinel Team appear regularly on and in various media, commentating and giving insight on industry issues. David is a regular columnist within ‘the Grocer’ magazine, as well as being a contributor to Forbes.

For press enquiries, please contact our UK office. call: +44 (0) 1753 867979 or email

Tesco suspensions add to chaos at top

By Andrew Clark / October 15, 2014

An investigation into Tesco’s £250 million accounting crisis has prompted the suspension of a further three executives, stoking concern about disruption to its preparations for the crucial Christmas shopping season. Tesco has sent home Dan Jago, its category director for beers, wines and spirits; Sean McCurley, who is responsible for convenience food; and William Linnane, who looks after impulse purchases such as confectionery. Read More Read More

How Tesco put the squeeze on suppliers

By Oliver Shah / October 12, 2014

A year ago, Tesco received an eccentric complaint. Gary Davies, a wedding photographer from Essex, sent the supermarket an open letter bemoaning the disappearance of Branston baked beans from its shelves. “Dear Tesco,” Davies wrote, “Yet again you’ve attempted to ruin my health and happiness through your blatant attempt at sabotaging, distorting and undermining the free market for baked beans. All I see is a wall of Heinz, supplemented with... Read More

Clubcard may buy new boss an escape route at Tesco

By Dominic O’Connell / October 05, 2014

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Hidden fees fuel a third of supermarket profits - Suppliers charged £80,000 just to get new products on store shelves

By Neil Craven / October 04, 2014

Supermarkets are making as much as a third of their profits from suppliers by demanding the type of charges that have led to the accounting scandal at Tesco, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The sums include penalty charges for late or incomplete shipments, bonuses for hitting sales targets, refunds for promotional discounts and one-off payments for a multitude of reasons such as launching new products. The fees are lumped... Read More

Discounter copycats are a threat to brands and consumers

By David Sables / September 26, 2014

Imagine you’ve been out of the country for five years and now you are walking around an Aldi or Lidl. You’d be taken aback, not by the food quality or the outstanding retail strategy, more by the number of suppliers who have allowed their brands to be ripped off. When own label producers started this copycatting practice some 20 years ago in an attempt to step up beyond ‘cheapest on... Read More

Help to put the ‘joint’ part back into Tesco’s joint business plans

By David Sables / September 06, 2014

So much has been written regarding the demise of Philip Clarke and the new David Lewis era at Tesco that you may be tired of it by now. However, do not underestimate just how seismic a shift this is for a business that still commands about £1 in every £8 spent on all UK retail spending. The new man and his new FD will have little accountability for the 2014/15... Read More

A reply to ‘Suppliers angry as retailers keep digging for old debts’

By David Sables / August 18, 2014

In reference to your article ‘Suppliers angry as retailers keep digging for old debts’ (9 August, p5), please add me to your huge list of cynics. Eight of our 10 large retailers have made voluntary commitments to time-limit forensic audits to two and a bit years. The fact that so many are blitzing the accounts to ensure they’ve missed nothing before magnanimously stopping the practice is an outrage. The spirit... Read More

Don't skirt around the point - there really is no harm in asking!

By David Sables / August 09, 2014

We are constantly fed a myth-soup about selling and negotiation; like win-win and making buyers happy. Buyers don’t choose to go with your proposal because they like you. They choose to go with you because it is in their best interest to do so, and maybe they like you! You don’t have to be a psychologist – the mistakes we make are not that complex; you don’t have to be... Read More

Why not just outlaw the obviously unfair trading practices?

By David Sables / July 14, 2014

I’m often accused of emotive language when discussing the Groceries Code Adjudicator. Well yes! Look, it’s not disputed that there are unfair practices afoot. Frankly, it’s a bit odd that more people are not emotional about it. Suppliers are very emotional and are beginning to report issues to me rather than risk anonymity lapses. Meanwhile, retailers circumvent the spirit of the code by word games. Say ‘request’ in place of... Read More

Be careful what you share with customers - keep your advantage

By David Sables / June 14, 2014

Do retailers’ own brands get an advantage from the information we share? I researched this question before addressing policymakers and the OFT last week at the Retail Symposium. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. More interesting, though, is the astonishing level of acceptance from suppliers. Private-label share varies of course, but they are often the largest in the category. The custodians of this competition are the same people upon whom... Read More