Suppliers are expected to be interviewed by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as part of the investigation into Tesco’s profit overstatement.

The SFO is set to quiz staff at suppliers who worked on deals with Tesco and scrutinise the paperwork from supplier agreements, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Suppliers including Unilever, where Tesco’s new boss Dave Lewis joined from, are expected be approached by the SFO early in the New Year.

The SFO investigation is seeking to get to the bottom of Tesco overstating its profits by £263m, which involved expected revenue from suppliers being reported in the wrong accounting period.

News of suppliers being dragged into the SFO investigation comes after it was revealed Tesco is softening its approach to suppliers.

Tesco, which has been accused of bullying suppliers in the past, is abolishing its system of demanding payments from suppliers.

The fees are called ‘commercial income’ and reportedly account for one third of profits and include charges for stocking products and for displaying them prominently.

Tesco Express

Meanwhile, the traditionally strong-performing Tesco Express convenience stores are reportedly losing sales for the first time.