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Trader Joe’s sued for breach of contract

Two dairy vendors are going after specialty grocers Trader Joe’s for allegedly dropping them as suppliers. Florida residents may be interested to know that the breach of contract suit includes allegations that the grocery giant also coerced other retailers into refusing to work with them. The case has been filed in a Superior Court, but representatives for Trader Joe’s have refused to comment on the progress of the case at this time.

The case has been filed by Natural Dairy Products and Dairy Smart, two companies based locally in a southern American state. Natural Dairy Products particularly is invested in this case because of their long-standing partnership with Trader Joe’s; the two companies have a working relationship extending back to 2005, and with the principals of Trader Joe’s for almost 30 years. Both companies say they were instrumental in supporting the dairy sales of Trader Joe’s over the years.

Trader Joe’s officially stopped working with both companies in March of last year, after the grocer dropped them as suppliers. Since then, the case alleges, Trader Joe’s has gone out of its way to coerce other retailers into not working with either company. The suit includes charges of breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, unjust enrichment and acting in bad faith.

Florida residents understand the kind of industry clout large companies like Trader Joe’s have in the market. It is wholly possible for a company of that size to influence other retailers in the way NDP and Dairy Smart are alleging, but, of course, the breach of contract suit will have to go through the court process to determine if this is truly the case. If it is, it could have repercussions on the reputation of the grocery chain, since such business practices are frowned upon in most circles.

Source: supermarketnews.com, “Dairy suppliers sue Trader Joe’s”, , July 11, 2014

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