Washington, D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, applauded remarks made by Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya during a speech in Minneapolis today recommending that the agency resurrect the Robinson-Patman Act.
The Robinson-Patman Act was passed in 1936 to protect small businesses from price discrimination in the marketplace. Despite the law’s intention, the FTC has not brought a case under the Robinson-Patman Act in more than 20 years. Nor has the FTC brought an enforcement action against economic discrimination using the other antitrust laws.
“Unfortunately, this is not a new reality faced by independent community grocers across the country, where the playing field on which they are operating is not level and dominant firms exercise their power to demand special treatment from suppliers without an economic justification. Independent grocers and the wholesalers that serve them provide critical competition on price, quality, service and convenience,” said NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara. “A spotlight has been shone on these anticompetitive, harmful tactics and we look forward to working with the FTC and other policymakers to restore a competitive, robust marketplace that benefits local economies, independent grocers and their shoppers alike.”
“As the newest FTC commissioner, Mr. Bedoya has held meetings with NGA and its members to hear how unchecked power buyers directly impact local independent grocers and the communities they serve. We appreciate the work he has done to bring this important issue back to the forefront of policy discussions,” said Chris Jones, NGA SVP of government relations and counsel. “We’re pleased to see the bipartisan momentum this issue has received and hope it will lead to a course correction in how U.S. antitrust laws are enforced.”
NGA represents more than 1,600 independent grocery retailers who account for nearly 9,000 store fronts across the country, including at least one in every congressional district. These stores and the wholesalers that serve them play a crucial role in American communities. They compete to offer low prices, better service, more accessible and convenient locations, a greater variety of quality food products, and good jobs.
However, independent community grocers have experienced firsthand the negative impacts over the years of dominant food retailers ignoring antitrust law and abusing their buyer power to demand suppliers provide lower prices and more favorable supply terms, special package offerings and product availability, leaving independent grocers to pay the price.
Last year, NGA released a white paper, which lays out how power buyers have used their dominance in the grocery market to gain special treatment and disadvantage their independent competitors.
NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit www.nationalgrocers.org.