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Argos(1) Argos Ltd (2) Littlewoods Ltd v Office of Fair Trading: JJB Sports Plc v Office Of Fair Trading [2006] EWCA Civ 1318

Retailers and suppliers who had reached agreement about the resale price of toys and football shirts had been parties to concerted practices, having as their object the restriction or distortion of competition contrary to s 2 of the Competition Act 1998.

27 October 2006

The appellant retailers appealed against decisions of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in respect of price-fixing investigations by the OFT. The OFT had investigated agreements involving two retailers (X and L) fixing the price of Hasbro toys and games and, in a separate investigation, had investigated agreements involving another retailer (J) fixing the price of Umbro football shirts. The OFT had imposed substantial penalties on the ground that there had been agreements in breach of s 2 of the Competition Act 1998. The tribunal had rejected appeals by X and L on liability, but had reduced the penalties. The tribunal had allowed J’s appeal in part and had reduced the penalties ([2005] CAT 22). The appellants appealed on liability and penalty. L and J submitted that, although there were agreements or concerted practices on a vertical basis with suppliers that infringed the s 2 prohibition, there was no horizontal element to the relevant dealings, contrary to the tribunal’s finding...

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