February 21, 2018 / 3:58 PM / a month ago

CORRECTED-European supermarket chains face off with Nestle over prices

(Removes incorrect reference to industry sources at two other AgeCore members)

BRUSSELS/ZURICH, Feb 21 (Reuters) - AgeCore, a group of European retailers including Belgium’s Colruyt and Switzerland’s Coop, has removed some Nestle products from its shelves and is negotiating with the Swiss food group to secure better prices.

Swiss Coop said it had stopped orders on more than 150 products, including Cailler Perles chocolate, Nescafe Azera coffee and pizza brand Buitoni La Fina, demanding better supply conditions.

Belgium’s Colruyt, known for its no-frills, low-cost strategy, confirmed on Wednesday that it was an member of AgeCore and that negotiations were proceeding between AgeCore and Nestle.

“We are convinced that both parties, just as always, will reach an agreement,” it said in a statement, declining to provide further details.

Nestle said it regretted that its consumers could not currently access its products in some stores in Europe. It said it continued to negotiate in good faith and hoped to find an amicable solution soon to the “highly regrettable” situation.

Italian supermarket chain Conad said that AgeCore companies had reduced their purchases of Nestle products by around 20 percent, with negotiations underway over prices. (Reporting by Samantha Koester in Brussels, Elisa Anzolin in Milan, Angelika Gruber and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich and Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Georgina Prodhan)

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