JD Sports, Elite Sports and Rangers Football Club set kit prices, 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 that it will face fines if it is 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 jerseys from September 2018 until at least mid-November 2018. .

All three would 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.

A general view of Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium (Danny Lawson/PA)

(PA Archive)

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 replica Rangers 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 almost 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 are concerned that in this case Elite, JD Sports and, to some extent, Rangers have colluded to keep prices high, so that both retailers can pocket more money for themselves at the expense of fans.”

JD Sports Fashion said it plans to set aside a stipend of around £2million 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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