The Norwegian Competition Authority issued a total of NOK 21 billion in fees to Norgesgruppen, Coop, and Rema 1000 for price cooperation.
The Norwegian Competition Authority believes that the chains have cooperated in a way that may have led to higher grocery prices, the Authority wrote in a press release on Tuesday.
The Authority’s preliminary assessment is that the chains have shared information on pricing since 2011 and that this may have led to higher grocery prices for consumers.
“We take this type of coordination very seriously, and have therefore announced that we are considering imposing a fee,” competition director Lars Sørgard noted.
He added that the chains have expressed that they have used the obtained information to compete.
“The Norwegian Competition Authority’s preliminary assessment is, however, that the grocery chains have used the price information to restrict competition. In a number of cases, they have used the information in such a way that it may have raised prices,” he said.
In the spring of 2018, the Norwegian Competition Authority carried out an unannounced inspection at Norgesgruppen, Coop, and Rema 1000, and seized extensive internal documents at the chains.
“Our investigation shows that the practice of scanning prices in each other’s stores may have led to the chains together pushing prices upwards,” the Authority added.
The Authority announced that Norgesgruppen would be fined NOK 8.8 billion, Coop Norge NOK 4.8 billion, and Rema 1000 NOK 7.4 billion.
The companies have until April 15, 2021, to submit their response in the case.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today