JD Sports faces CMA fine in replica kit price-fixing probe
The Competition and Markets Authority has said it suspects that Elite Sports, JD Sports and Rangers Football Club broke competition law by fixing the retail prices of certain Rangers-branded clothing products.
In provisional findings, the CMA said Elite Sports and JD Sports fixed the retail prices of a number of Rangers-branded replica kits and other clothing products from September 2018 until at least July 2019.
In addition, it found that Rangers FC also took part in the alleged collusion, but only to the extent of fixing the retail price of adult home short-sleeved replica shirts from September 2018 to at least mid-November 2018.
The CMA said all three parties allegedly colluded to stop JD Sports undercutting the retail price of the shirt on Elite’s Gers Online store.
At the time, Elite was the manufacturer of Rangers-branded clothing and also sold Rangers-branded products through Gers Online Store and later in bricks-and-mortar shops in Glasgow and Belfast. However, JD Sports was the only UK-wide major retailer selling the products.
The CMA said the companies can expect to face fines if the findings are confirmed.
Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “We don’t hesitate to take action when we have concerns that companies may be working together to keep costs up.
“Football fans are well-known for their loyalty towards their teams. We artwo2 retailers could pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans.”
All three companies will have the chance to make representations to the CMA before it reaches a final decision on the findings.