The Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") recently fined fifteen sporting goods retailers for vertical resale price maintenance. The Commission determined that the involved undertakings infringed competition law by entering into restrictive agreements on the relevant markets of wholesale and retail sale of sportswear, footwear and sporting equipment.
The Commission initiated an ex officio investigation on 18th of August, 2016, with a dawn raid on the premises of "N SPORT", a major local distributer of sporting brands. The Commission collected sale and purchase agreements of the supplier and a number of local retailers, including the price lists of certain sport brands (Puma, Sergio Tacchini, Russell Athletic etc.).
The agreements in question obliged the buyers to apply resale prices determined by N SPORT, together with a prohibition on promotions without N SPORT's prior approval. The supplier used various methods for ensuring that the buyers complied with the resale price maintenance obligation, including a reduction in rebates and ultimately termination of the agreement.
The Commission established that all fifteen relevant agreements contained provisions that in various ways determined the resale price for wholesale and retail sale. Ultimately, all of the involved undertakings were fined, with fines ranging from 0.2% to 0.62% of the total annual turnover generated by the undertakings in 2015. The largest individual fine was issued against the supplier "N SPORT" in the amount of RSD 16,525,732.75 (approx. EUR 140,000).