LEGO Fined 130,000 Euros in Germany for Preventing Discount Prices in Stores

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LEGO Group’s German subsidiary has been fined 130,000 euros (£98,000) by Germany’s federal competition authority, the Bundeskartellamt, because the company stopped stores offering discounts on its popular toys.

Incidents occurred during 2012 and 2013 when sales representatives of LEGO GmbH forced retailers to raise the prices of approximately twenty LEGO sets. The products concerned where known as “highlight articles” and expected to be among LEGO’s best selling sets.

Bundeskartellamt stated : “In some cases the retailers were threatened with either a reduction in supply or even with the refusal to supply if they offered articles at retail prices below those set in the lists. In other cases the level of discount on the retailers’ purchase prices granted by LEGO GmbH was made conditional on the maintenance of the listed resale prices by the retailers.”

In an internal investigation, LEGO found these practises not only non-compliant with German law but also with LEGO Group’s own procedures. As result of the internal investigation, sanctions have been imposed on all the employees found to be involved, with some being dismissed from the company.

John Goodwin, LEGO Group’s Chief Financial Officer, stated: “While this non-compliant behaviour only involved a small number of employees in a restricted part of Germany, we want to make it clear that it is unacceptable and not representative of what the LEGO brand stands for”.

LEGO Group has accepted the decision, despite the fact it can appeal to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

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