Feds Launch Probe Into Possible ‘Anti-Competitive’ Practices of Amazon, Walmart, Tyson Foods and More
Washington D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a wide-ranging probe into nine large retailers, wholesalers, and consumer good suppliers amid the ongoing supply chain chaos.
On Tuesday, the FTC ordered Walmart Inc., Amazon.com, Inc., Kroger Co., C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., McLane Company, Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods, Inc., and Kraft Heinz Co., to turn over “internal documents regarding the supply chain disruptions.”
In a release, the FTC said the study will “examine whether supply chain disruptions are leading to specific bottlenecks, shortages, anti-competitive practices, or contributing to rising consumer prices.”
The FTC indicated the orders require the companies to detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products; the impact these disruptions are having in terms of delayed and canceled orders, increased costs and prices; the products, suppliers and inputs most affected; and the steps the companies are taking to alleviate disruptions; and how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply.
Further, the FTC also is requiring the companies to provide internal communications related to strategies it is using to navigate the clogged supply chain; pricing; marketing and promotions; costs, profit margins and sales volumes; selection of suppliers and brands; and market shares.
The National Grocers Association (NGA), a trade group for independent grocery stores and their wholesalers, applauded the announcement of the investigation.
In a statement on Tuesday, Chris Jones, NGA’s senior vice president of government relations, said he hopes the FTC study will lead the Agency to “soon rein in the destructive anti-competitive tactics that have been ignored by federal agencies for decades.”
The companies under investigation will have 45 days to comply.
The FTC is also soliciting voluntary comments from retailers, consumer goods suppliers, wholesalers, and consumers regarding their views on how supply chain issues are affecting competition in consumer goods markets.