Regulator anticipates supermarket probe to take ‘a number of months’
Feb. 20 (BusinessDesk) - The Commerce Commission has confirmed it is formally investigating allegations of anti-competitive behaviour towards suppliers by Woolworths-owned Countdown, and expects the probe will take “a number of months.”
Last week the regulator started assessing allegations made by Labour MP Shane Jones over Countdown’s behaviour, and has today confirmed the formal investigation.
“The investigation will involve seeking a wide range of information from a variety of sources, including organisations from all areas of the supermarket sector,” the regulator said in a statement. “The investigation is expected to take a number of months.”
The issue came to light last week when Jones accused Countdown of leaning on suppliers and used Parliamentary privilege to protect himself from potential defamation proceedings.
Countdown has previously said it will cooperate fully with the inquiry.
Jones said the investigation “totally vindicated” the stance he has taken on the supermarkets.
“The campaign I have led has resulted in the Commerce Commission agreeing to an inquiry,” Jones said. “That’s a win for ordinary Kiwis, businesses and consumers,”