Hungary’s Competition Office (GVH) fined Auchan Hungary one billion forints (€3.4 million) for charging suppliers to stock their products in its inventory.
GVH found that the local arm of French retail chain had charged about three-quarters of its non-food suppliers the fee in 2006 to 2014. The suppliers were to pay if they wanted their goods placed on Auchan’s shelves.
GVH said it considered an aggravating factor Auchan’s continuation of the practice even after the Hungarian unit of Spar was cited for a similar offence in June 2012. GVH counted as a mitigating factor the fact that about 44 per cent of Auchan’s suppliers were “not vulnerable market players”.
Hungary’s Trade Act prohibits traders to unilaterally charge a fee to its suppliers for added them to a list of suppliers or for including their products to the traders’ stock.
Auchan Hungary said it did not agree with neither the reasoning nor the unprecedented fine in GVH’s resolution. The company insists it had followed all regulations in the 17 years since entering the Hungarian market. Dominique Ducoux, who heads Auchan Hungary, said the company would use all available legal means to prove that it had not broken any laws. The company trusts in the sound judgment of the court, he said.
© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news.