The standoff between Bercy and the giants of the distribution intensifies. On Monday, the ministry of Economy and Finance has indicated his desire to see Jones punished "more than 100 million euros" ($108 million, precisely) to have imposed discounts on its suppliers, has announced Agnès Pannier-Runacher, State secretary to the minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire.
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The announcement comes on the day of the publication of the balance sheet 2018 of the Directorate-general for competition, consumption and repression of fraud (DGCCRF). This is the largest sum ever sought by the ministry of Economy and Finance to fraudulent practices. "This is a strong signal that we want to send to large distribution: in the case of practices prohibited by the Code of commerce, the signs must be punished to the height of the economic damage they cause," said the minister.
After three years of regular controls, the DGCCRF was assigned in February 2018 Galec, the central purchase of the first French distributor, the tribunal of commerce of Paris. The plant would have required every year to some suppliers of national brands for a discount, usually close to 10 %, on all the products that these suppliers référençaient also, the year previous to the contract, with a chain of hard discount competition. Bercy does not name, but it is, according to our information, Lidl.
These discounts are considered illegal by Bercy. Indeed, no consideration of commercial (advertising, promotion of product...) has been granted by Leclerc to these suppliers, which is contrary to the provisions of article L. 442-6 of the commercial Code. These practices have affected major food brands international.
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The sum claimed, shows "all the firmness of the government against the unfair practices," says the DGCCRF. It is divided into two parts: € 25 million of civil penalties and 85 million euros for restitution to the suppliers of the sums unduly paid. The ministry of Economy and Finance request the tribunal of commerce of Paris for the invalidity of these discounts in the agreements concluded between Galec and its suppliers and the cessation of the practice.
The sum claimed, shows "all the firmness of the government against the unfair practices'
The patron of the movement launched by his father, Michel-Edouard Leclerc, has not been slow to respond. "Leclerc is legalistic, and if there is a dispute about the quality of the commercial contracts signed by an entity the co-operative movement, the justice will decide, as it has done for other brands." And to entrust the Figaro : "It is a legal dispute which relates to a period prior to the act food and agriculture and that will be dealt with by the courts." In another case, the DGCCRF conducted last year's raids at the headquarters of the centres Leclerc, suspecting the group to want to circumvent French law by outsourcing its trade negotiations in Belgium. "Lidl is a central european procurement, which trades at Düsseldorf, and here, no one takes offence of the location of its central purchasing body", he says finally.
In 2014, Leclerc had been condemned by the Paris court of appeal to repay eur 61.3 million improperly collected at 48 of its suppliers.Updated Date: 26 March 2019, 00:00