The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that a lighting supplier has broken competition law by restricting retailers’ freedom to discount online.
The CMA has issued a statement of objections to Poole Lighting, which supplies light fittings to national and independent retailers.
It is alleged the company stopped retailers from setting their own prices online and forced them to sell at, or above, a minimum price.
This would be a form of ‘resale price maintenance’, which breaks competition law.
The CMA’s findings are provisional and no final conclusion has been reached regarding whether there has been a breach of competition law.
We take allegations of online resale price maintenance seriously because it can keep those prices high and limit choice for consumers.
‘With more and more retail activity moving online, making sure competition works well in this channel is a priority for the CMA.
That happens when retailers are free to set their own prices to attract customers using the internet to look for the best deal,’ Ann Pope, CMA senior director, Antitrust, commented.
‘We take allegations of online resale price maintenance seriously because it can keep those prices high and limit choice for consumers. We will now carefully consider representations from the company before reaching a final decision,’ Pope concluded.
The products being investigated by the CMA are the Saxby and Endon brands of domestic light fittings, including lamp shades, table lamps and wall light fittings.
The size of the wider UK light fittings sector is estimated at £1.22 billion annually, including domestic and commercial sales.