'No grounds for action' in sports bra price-fixing investigation

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
17 June 2014

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17 June 2014 | Will Green

An investigation into allegations of price-fixing between sports bra makers DB Apparel UK (DBA) and three leading retailers has been dropped.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has decided there are “no grounds for action in this case” following a review of the evidence.

A “statement of objections” announced last year by the CMA’s predecessor, the Office for Fair Trading (OFT), alleged DBA had entered into anti-competitive agreements with John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser between 2008 and 2011 involving the Shock Absorber range of bras.

In a “case closure summary” the CMA said the matter had originally been raised in a complaint from a third party but a review of the evidence, in light of representations from the parties involved, meant it could “no longer rely on the documentary evidence and the inferences the OFT had drawn to this evidence to reach a finding of infringement”.

Philip Marsden, chairman of the case decision group, said: “The CMA treats allegations of resale price maintenance very seriously, as it may restrict competition and mean that consumers end up paying more than is necessary. However, having carefully reviewed the evidence in this case, including the parties’ representations, we have decided that there are no grounds for action by the CMA.”

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