Antitrust regulator probes retail chain protest association

Fashion chain heads / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Inbal Marmary, Dima Taliansky

The Israel Competition Authority is examining the conduct of the newly-formed Association of Fashion and Commercial Chains, which includes Fox, Golf, Castro and dozens of other chains.

The Israel Competition Authority is examining the conduct of the newly-formed Association of Fashion and Commercial Chains, which organized during the coronavirus crisis and encompasses 200 chains including Fox, Golf, Castro, Cafe Cafe and many more.

Following publication of the joint agreement by the 200 chains not to open stores today in protest at a lack of competition and continuing restrictions, the Association of Fashion and Commercial Chains received a demand for information today from the Israel Competition Authority, "with the aim of clarifying that its retail operations do not contravene the instructions of the law."

The Israel Competition Authority has made it clear today that if the findings of the investigation show that actions have been taken that could harm competition in a way that violates the law, the Authority will not hesitate to take action.

The Association of Fashion and Commercial Chains claimed last Thursday that it had reached an understanding with the Israel Competition Authority that it was only campaigning over the damage done to businesses by the coronavirus crisis and that its limited areas of activity were clear to it. For example "Globes" revealed an opinion by the Israel Competition Authority that it would not allow joint negotiations by the Association with shopping mall owners regarding reduction in rent.

Adv. Mattan Meridor, partner and head of the antitrust and competition department at Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co., who represents the steering committee of the Association of Fashion and Commercial Chains said, "The Israel Competition Authority contacted the steering committee of the retail chains demanding to be given data and to receive details following its announcements. The steering committee, working closely undr legal advice, will respond to the request."

He added, "It is worth pointing out that several days ago the Competition Authority let the steering committee of the chains take protest measures against the government about arranging assistance for the chains following the coronavirus crisis. The regulator made it clear to the committee, as an exception, that at the current time such an organization and activities as these can enjoy the protection of the law, as long as the committee ensures that strike action and other protest actions are undertaken in a way that complies with the Law for Economic Competition."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 26, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Fashion chain heads / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Inbal Marmary, Dima Taliansky
Fashion chain heads / Photo: Eyal Izhar, Inbal Marmary, Dima Taliansky
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