This year, Checkout commemorates its 40th anniversary under its current ownership, and with this in mind, every week, Retail Intelligence is going to ‘reel in the years’ and publish a story from our extensive archives. This article from June 1987 looks back at the banning of below-cost selling.
The announcement on June 3rd by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Albert Reynolds, that he is to introduce a ministerial order banning below cost selling and the practise of demanding ‘hello money’ from suppliers was a colourful piece of Irish grocery history.
It was timed one week after Feargal Quinn’s curious admission that Superquinn receives ‘hello money’, and only a few weeks after the opening of H. Williams' cut-price Giant store.
It was also timed nicely to coincide with the Single European Act referendum – to ensure, possibly, that any consumer outcry would get little attention from the media.
Then there was Albert’s revelation that C&D Petfoods, his own company, had been approached for ‘hello money’. Revenge is sweet.
The document itself, once you’ve translated the departmental legalese, is more far-reaching, more detailed and more hard-hitting than expected. For a start, it includes a number of articles restricting price fixing on the part of the suppliers. Then there is the article banning trade associations from boycotting suppliers – a sting in the tail for RGDATA.
The article that bans below-cost selling includes a paragraph detailing how exchange rates will be dealt with, thereby notifying retailers that imports are not outside the scope of the order.
It also includes a paragraph aimed at stopping retailers from stockpiling items bought at a low price and waiting for the price to go up.
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