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NGA Supports FTC Commissioner’s Call For Antitrust Enforcement

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The National Grocers Association applauded remarks made by Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya during a speech in Minneapolis on Sept. 22, recommending that the agency resurrect the Robinson-Patman Act.

The Robinson-Patman Act was passed in 1936 to protect small businesses from price discrimination in the marketplace. Despite the law’s intention, the FTC has not brought a case under the Robinson-Patman Act in more than 20 years. Nor has the FTC brought an enforcement action against economic discrimination using the other antitrust laws.

“Unfortunately, this is not a new reality faced by independent community grocers across the country, where the playing field on which they are operating is not level and dominant firms exercise their power to demand special treatment from suppliers without an economic justification. Independent grocers and the wholesalers that serve them provide critical competition on price, quality, service and convenience,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO.

“A spotlight has been shone on these anticompetitive, harmful tactics and we look forward to working with the FTC and other policymakers to restore a competitive, robust marketplace that benefits local economies, independent grocers and their shoppers alike.”

NGA represents more than 1,600 independent grocery retailers who account for nearly 9,000 store fronts across the country, including at least one in every congressional district. These stores and the wholesalers that serve them play a crucial role in American communities. They compete to offer low prices, better service, more accessible and convenient locations, a greater variety of quality food products and good jobs.

However, independent community grocers have experienced firsthand the negative impacts over the years of dominant food retailers ignoring antitrust law and abusing their buyer power to demand suppliers provide lower prices and more favorable supply terms, special package offerings and product availability, leaving independent grocers to pay the price.

“As the newest FTC commissioner, Bedoya has held meetings with NGA and its members to hear how unchecked power buyers directly impact local independent grocers and the communities they serve. We appreciate the work he has done to bring this important issue back to the forefront of policy discussions,” said Chris Jones, NGA SVP of government relations and counsel. “We’re pleased to see the bipartisan momentum this issue has received and hope it will lead to a course correction in how U.S. antitrust laws are enforced.”

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