OFT closes investigation into suspected price co-ordination by retailers and suppliers in the grocery sector

The OFT has announced that, in light of the OFT’s administrative prioritisation principles, it has closed its investigation into suspected price coordination across the UK grocery sector.

The formal investigation into the grocery sector began in April 2008 after the OFT received substantial evidence suggesting indirect retail price co-ordination (so called “hub and spoke” or “A-B-C” information exchange) between suppliers and retailers between 2005 and 2008. However, after concluding its review of the material gathered during the case (including material from several leniency applicants), the OFT decided it was appropriate to close the investigation without reaching any decision as to an infringement and without giving rise to any implication as to illegality.

The OFT has stated that the closure of this case does not reflect how the OFT will prioritise such suspected information exchange in the future.

18 November 2010