Victory for sports bra retailers

13 Jun 2014 | by Caroline Sweeney

The CMA today closed its investigation into the retail pricing of sports bras, concluding that there were no grounds for enforcement action against the parties involved.

In September last year, following a two year investigation, the OFT issued a Statement of Objections alleging that DBA, manufacturer of the “Shock Absorber” range, had entered into a series of resale price maintenance arrangements with each of Debenhams, House of Fraser and John Lewis, covering three separate periods between 2008 and 2011. This was the first time the OFT had proceeded with an investigation on its own initiative, without a prior complaint or leniency application providing detailed evidence regarding the specific conduct in question.

Once an SO is issued, it is unusual for the investigation to be closed: over the past five years, 90% of parties receiving an SO alleging an anti-competitive agreement or concerted practice have gone on to be the subject of infringement decisions.

However, in this case, following written and oral representations from the parties, the CMA reassessed the evidence on its file and concluded that there were no grounds for action against the parties.

Daniel Beard QC and Alison Berridge represented House of Fraser.

Anneli Howard and Michael Armitage advised the CMA.