Ahold: Supermarket accounting under spotlight
The accounting problems which have befallen Dutch giant Ahold have spread to US food distributor Fleming, which is likely to intensify the debate on the treatment of vendor allowances.
Yesterday, the Securities & Exchange Commission launched a formal probe into Fleming, the biggest wholesale grocer distributor in the US, which, like Ahold, is also audited by Deloitte & Touche.
A primary focus of the probe will be on vendor allowances – the accounting of rebates and discounts received from suppliers, believed to be the main source of problems at Ahold’s own food distributor, US Food Service Unit.
According to reports, the probe into Fleming and the Ahold fiasco could reheat the debate about accounting for vendor allowances, an issue recently examined by the US standard setter, the Financial Accounting Standards Board.
Fleming says it will fully cooperate with the SEC inquiry.