The Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) and a number of other competition authorities around Europe have recently taken action against a number of practices that restrict or may restrict retailers’ ability to set their own prices, including resale price maintenance and pricing parity arrangements.
A number of companies remain under investigation and, if found to infringe competition law, are at risk of potentially significant fines. A number of others have revised, or have offered to revise, their business practices and models to close investigations without a finding of infringement.
These investigations are a reminder to all companies, large and small, of the need to ensure that their trading arrangements are compatible with UK and EU competition law. This includes manufacturers, brand owners, franchisors, suppliers, wholesalers, ‘bricks and mortar’ and online retailers, and operators of online platforms.