According to presenters at a Global Competition Review panel today, antitrust problems in retail networks can be difficult to find. For the report on the panel, click here (sorry, it may be behind a paywall).
The article reports that according to the panel, antitrust cases in the retail sector are becoming more and more complex, frequently including hub-and-spoke conspiracies and most favored customer cases as well as resale price maintenance (RPM). The panel included European regulators from Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, France’s Competition Authority, and Belgium’s Competition Council.
At least some panelists advocated for a more interventionist approach when dealing with decreased competition and vertical cartels in the European retail market.
I’m not sure about that conclusion, but I do agree that there are competition and distribution law issues lurking in many retail networks. See, e.g., the Tempur-Pedic case I reported on earlier today.