At least seven of Canada’s largest grocers have now been named as participants of an industry-wide fixing of bread prices for almost 15 years.
New court documents related to the case show that Loblaw’s, Walmart, Sobeys, Metro and Giant Tiger all colluded in the price fixing, which had customers across the country paying more for bread products than they should have been.
The wholesale suppliers of the products, Canada Bread Company Ltd. and George Weston Ltd., both agreed to boost their prices together for more than a decade, beginning in 2001. Court documents allege that the suppliers then went to each retailer for approval of the hikes. All of the retailers, Sobeys, Metro, Loblaw’s, Giant Tiger and Walmart, agreed to the boost so long as their competitors were on board.
According to the Competition Bureau the offence is indictable under the country’s Competition Act and while Loblaw’s has received immunity for actively participating in the investigation, all of the others involved are still on the hook for any charges laid.
Loblaw’s has also been trying to smooth things over with consumers by offering $25 grocery gift card to those eligible. Does that mean that more gift cards are on the way? We’ll have to wait and see.