The Norwegian Competition Authority has warned it will fine retailers, NorgesGruppen, Coop, and Rema 1000, for illegal price collusion. These fines could total as much as NOK 21 billion (about €2 billion). That's what nrk.no reports.
This competition authority is investigating mainly 'price hunters'. These retailers send people to visit competitors' stores. They relay information to their company headquarters. This data is then used to set that retailer's prices. The retailers believe this benefits competition. The Competition Authority, however, thinks the opposite is happening.
Lars Sørgard is the Norwegian Competition Authority's Director. He says, "Retailers allow these price hunters in each other's stores. They give them very detailed price information. That may have led to increased prices for certain products and product groups. We believe, after extensive research, that retailers have worked together on this. Price hunters, themselves, aren't the problem, the collaboration is."
According to the authority, these retailers have been using 'price hunters' since 2011.
The Competition Authority has warned it would be issuing these fines:
- NorgesGruppen ASA: NOK 8.8 billion (€836 million)
- Coop Norge SA: NOK 4.8 billion (€456 million)
- Rema 1000 AS: NOK 7.4 billion (€703 million)
According to the authority, these fines are so high because it involves such a large market. And because this is a serious offense. They also stress that, since the case hasn't yet been concluded, these are preliminary fines. The retailers have received a 300-page report. They have until 15 April 2021 to present their arguments against the accusations.