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France: Regulator to probe supermarket purchasing alliances

 |  July 16, 2018

France’s antitrust authority said on Monday, July 16, it will investigate the potential impact of several purchasing alliances recently sealed by French and European supermarket retailers reported the Financial Times.

The Autorité de la Concurrence said that it will assess “the competitive impact of these purchasing partnerships on the concerned markets, both upstream for the suppliers, and downstream for the consumers”, according to a statement published on its website.

The move comes amid a fiercely competitive environment for food retailers in Europe, as they have come under pressure in recent years from the expansion of German discounters Aldi and Lidl, and are also worried about ecommerce groups such as Amazon, which is reportedly already seeking locations for physical stores.

Earlier this month, the UK’s Tesco and Carrefour of France, Europe’s two largest supermarket groups, said that they would combine to jointly purchase own-brand products and other goods as part of a long-term tie-up that will initially run for three years.

This followed the signing of a purchasing alliance between Carrefour and French rival Système U in their home market, and a similar tie-up between Auchan, Casino, logistics company Schiever, and Germany’s Metro in France and international markets. The probe will investigate all three purchasing alliances.

The antitrust authority said it would interrogate the suppliers concerned in the agreements and competitors who were not directly involved in the deals.

Full Content: Financial Times

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