PRICES: Casino and Intermarché, which created a central purchasing office in November 2014, are suspected of having coordinated their pricing policies towards consumers
Have Casino and Intermarché agreed on prices? The European Commission has opened an investigation, Monday, on possible collusion between the two major French distributors, violating the competition rules of the EU.
Casino and Intermarché, which created a joint purchasing centre called INCAA in November 2014, are suspected of having coordinated their pricing policies towards consumers, which would infringe the right to the competition.
“Alliances between major distributors can have a positive effect”
In its statement, the European Commission recalls that central purchasing bodies generally aim to create purchasing power that could lead to lower prices or an improvement in the quality of products or services for consumers.
“To the extent that these benefits are passed on to consumers, alliances between large distributors can have a positive effect,” she recalls. However, alliances can also pose competition concerns, especially when multiple contacts between major distributors can get them to agree on their retail activities, she adds.
Unannounced inspections at Casino and Intermarché premises
It is precisely on this aspect that the Commission’s investigation is concerned. There is no legal deadline for closing this survey. Its duration depends on various factors, including the complexity of the case and the degree of cooperation with the Commission of the companies in question.
In February 2017 and May 2019, the Commission carried out unannounced inspections at the Casino and Intermarché premises, which led it to open this formal investigation.