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CE & Appliance Suppliers Set To Be Probed By ACCC After Kaufland Exit

Serious questions are being asked as to whether distributors who already contracts with major retailers have, were pressured to not supply goods to Kaufland a big seller of house brand and branded appliances and consumer electronic goods.

According to the Financial Review the competition watchdog will investigate allegations that suppliers had been approached to withhold supply to the German retailer who suddenly pulled out of the Australian market this week.

 

It’s been claimed that suppliers including both manufacturers and distributors were asked to withhold supply.

“It’s Masters all over again,” said one supplier, referring to the decision of major hardware brands to not supply Woolworths’ failed home improvement chain for fear of being kicked out of market leader Bunnings.

“They declared their allegiance to the existing customer base,” he said.

“Kaufland realised it was a game they couldn’t win in the short term – they would have looked at ten years of losses.”

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims vowed to investigate the allegations and called on people with knowledge of the situation to come forward.

 

“We’ll definitely have a look at this,” Mr Sims told The Australian Financial Review.

 

“Agreements between competitors not to supply certainly raises cartel concerns and the law is pretty clear on this,” he said. “Even if it’s less than [cartel behaviour] you can also deal with it now under concerted practices.”

 

“We would be extremely keen to talk to anybody who has any information about this, we have very sophisticated processes for protecting the identity of anyone who does come forward,” he said.

 

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