Top players urged to compensate Farepak customers
The Government has called a meeting with Britain's biggest retailers to try to thrash out a goodwill deal, where supermarkets will offer gifts to customers of failed Christmas hamper company Farepak.

The meeting - which is to be held tomorrow morning at the Department of Trade & Industry in London - has been called by trade minister and former Labour party chairman Ian McCartney.

A spokesman for McCartney told Retail Week that the Government hoped 'retailers will be shocked at what has happened here and will be happy to make a goodwill gesture'.

He added that, although the Government would not contribute any money itself to the package, McCartney wanted to sound out supermarkets about helping some of the estimated 100,000 mainly poor families that have been hit by the problems at Farepak.

A spokeswoman for Farepak administrator BDO Stoy Hayward said that such a gesture by supermarkets 'would be great for [Farepak] customers, as otherwise, all that they are going to get is a small dividend several months from now'.

She added that it was unclear precisely how many people had been affected by the decision by Farepak owner European Home Retail to call in the receivers last Friday.

A spokesman for the British Retail Consortium - which passed on McCartney's invite to its members yesterday - said that it was 'up to individual retailers if they go or not'.