French supermarkets Casino and Intermarché have been ordered to pay a fine of €4 million, and Monoprix half a million, after being found guilty of practices that “restrict competitiveness”.
The Court of Appeal in Paris found the trio had demanded ”additional investment from certain suppliers without effective compensation, and under the threat of retaliation".
This situation caused “significant inequality in the balance of rights and obligations of each party”, the court added.
The companies Intermarché Casino Achats, Achats Marchandises Casino, and ITM Alimentaire International were fined a total of €4million.
Supermarket brand Monoprix was also fined €500,000 for its role as “co-author” in one offence concerning a supplier.
The court said that it had determined the fines by considering the supermarkets’ market share, “the duration of the practices, and the monetary amount of financial advantages sought”, and the “impact of the attempted bidding on commercial relations with suppliers”.
When asked for their response to the ruling, a Casino spokesperson told FranceInfo: “We don’t comment on court decisions. We are waiting for the procedure to continue”.
Intermarché has been under fire for certain practices before, including selling high-demand products such as Nutella for loss-making prices (in a 2018 sale offer that also caused ‘Nutella riots’ at the time).
The group was eventually fined €375,000 in connection with the Nutella offer.
Read more: Nutella discount of 70% prompts supermarket ‘riots’
Partly as a result, the government has since introduced a law that stipulates that supermarkets cannot sell products at prices that would mean the producer makes a loss. This is known as the ‘loi Egalim’.
Similarly, the government has been working closely with supermarket brands in France in recent weeks and months in a bid to combat rising inflation and food prices, which have already soared by 15% year-on-year in 2023.
One measure, the ‘trimestre anti-inflation’ will see everyday items priced as ‘low as possible’ in the next three months, identified by a special logo sticker.
Read more: French supermarkets begin drive to keep prices down on selected range
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