[caption id="attachment_67726" align="aligncenter" width="480"] John Lewis fixed price sports on bras claims OFT[/caption]
OFT Investigating Retailer John Lewis & Others for Price-Fixing Sports Bras
The Office of Fair Trading (OTF), which investigates allegations of price-fixing, has served three retailers a "Statement of Objections" today regarding price-fixing allegations in connection with the sale of DBA's Shock Absorber sports bras. The three retailers are Debenhams, John Lewis, and House of Fraser.
‘These alleged agreements had the aim of increasing the retail prices of DBA's Shock Absorber brand of sports bras in each of the three department stores,’ the OFT said.
House of Fraser operates sixty stores across the United Kingdom and is based in Scotland. John Lewis operates 43 stores in the UK and Debenhams operates 172 stores across Ireland, the UK, and Denmark.
‘We are co-operating fully with the Office of Fair Trading and the ongoing investigation and will respond accordingly,’ said a spokesperson from House of Fraser.
‘We are confident that we have been operating within all laws and regulations and are very supportive of any initiative which ensures pricing policies are fair for our customers.’
The allegation is that over the four years from 2008 to 2011, when 15% of the sports bra market was cornered by DBA's Shock Absorber, the three retailers entered into an agreement with DBA to set the price of the sports bra. Obviously, the practice of price-fixing is to limit competition and force higher prices onto consumers than what would naturally occur from competition.
It should be noted that the "Statement of Objections" is a preliminary measure and the OFT is careful not to make any assumptions at this point. Nevertheless, the OFT was clear that they take these matters seriously and will conduct an investigation. There is no word yet on what ended the price alleged price fixing in 2011. Neither company has agreed to comment on the OFT's investigation.
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