JD Sports, Elite and Rangers FC priced kits to ‘pocket money at fans’ expense’, says CMA

Retailer JD Sports, sporting goods company Elite Sports and Rangers Football Club have been provisionally discovered by Britain’s competition watchdog for conspiring to fix the prices of Rangers club clothing. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) alleges that the two retailers, with the help of Rangers, colluded to keep the prices of Rangers-branded replica kits high so that they could ” pocketing more money for themselves at the expense of the fans”.

The CMA has warned it will face fines if found to have breached competition law. It alleges Elite Sports and JD Sports fixed retail prices for a number of Rangers-branded replica kits and other apparel products from September 2018 until at least July 2019.

He also said that Rangers Football Club was involved in the alleged collusion, but only to the extent that it fixed the retail price of replica short-sleeved adult home shirts from September 2018 until at least mid-November. 2018. All three were said to have colluded. to ensure that the price of a Rangers jersey was not cheaper at JD Sports than at the Elite Gers Online store, according to the CMA.

The AMC said that at the time Elite was the manufacturer of Rangers branded clothing and also sold Rangers branded goods directly through its Gers online store and then to stores in Glasgow and Belfast. JD Sports was the only UK-wide retailer to sell this Rangers club clothing at the time.

The CMA claims that Rangers FC became concerned that at the start of the 2018-19 football season, JD Sports were selling the Rangers replica top at a lower price than Elite, which was then considered to be the club’s so-called retail partner. They then conspired to get JD to raise the price of the replica Rangers adult short sleeve shirt by nearly 10% from £55 to £60 to bring it in line with Gers Online prices, according to the CMA.

The AMC also believe Elite and JD – this time without Rangers’ involvement – worked together to price Rangers branded apparel – including training wear and replica kit – over a longer period of time. . He said that included the two companies aligning the amount and timing of discounts towards the end of the football season in 2019, to protect their profit margins at the expense of fans.

The AMC said Elite and JD confessed to cartel activity and have since cooperated with the watchdog. They could receive reduced fines if they continue to cooperate, according to the CMA.

Companies found guilty of violating competition law can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover. Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said: “We don’t hesitate to take action when we are concerned that companies are working together to keep costs down.

“Football fans are well known for their loyalty to their teams. We’re concerned that in this case, Elite, JD Sports and, to some extent, Rangers have colluded to keep prices high, so both retailers can pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans.

JD Sports Fashion said it plans to set aside around £2m to cover any CMA fines and legal costs in its annual results for the year to January 29, which it will publish “soon”.

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