The FTC Seeks Supply-Chain Intel from Nation’s Retailers
FTC Looks for Signs of Anticompetitive Practices
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking information from some of the nation’s top retailers to understand how they have weathered the supply-chain chaos. The request for documents is not a formal inquiry but is part of FTC research to see if supply-chain delays have led to anticompetitive practices. The agency is also trying to learn what caused the global supply-chain issues that have hurt the economic recovery.
The FTC is requesting information from a bevy of companies including Walmart (WMT), Amazon (AMZN), Procter & Gamble (PG), Kroger (KR), and Tyson Foods (TSN). The companies have 45 days to provide answers and documentation.
FTC Wants Detailed Information
The information the FTC is seeking is centered around how the lack of transportation and delayed orders resulted in higher prices. Companies also have to provide information about how they are fixing the problems and how they determine which stores get inventory and which do not when there’s a lack of a specific product.
Companies have been hit hard this year by COVID-19 interruptions which have led to clogged ports and railways and a lack of truck drivers and warehouse workers. That makes it harder to move products around the country. Big retailers including Walmart have been able to weather those problems, but smaller retailers are struggling to keep products in stock.
The Holidays Should Be Smoother Than Expected
At the same time that the FTC is looking into the supply chain, the White House is trying to assure the public there is a sufficient supply of toys, electronics, and apparel for the holidays. During a meeting with executives from Walmart, Best Buy (BBY), Food Lion, and other retailers, President Biden pointed to Black Friday as a sign the holiday season will be similar to previous years. All three companies said they have enough inventory to meet holiday demand.
The global supply chain has been a mess all year and does not appear to be improving any time soon. The FTC is trying to prevent a repeat next year by pressing the nation’s large retailers to shed some light on how they have been weathering recent conditions.
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