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Retail Intelligence

Checkout at 40: Government Restrains Multiples (June 1987)

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.

© 2015 - Checkout Magazine

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LIMITED TIME OFFER: 20% Off Our Premium Subscription