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http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/grocery ... -1.4459989
Price-fixing more commonplace than thought in grocery aisle, experts say
Price for bread rose at more than twice the food inflation rate did between 2001 and 2015ю
The recently revealed 14-year industry-wide arrangement to co-ordinate bread prices in Canada doesn't seem to shock experts, who say price fixing is a common and tempting practice in the country.
Any possible reward, they add, appears to outweigh the risks of penalties and losing consumers' trust.
Grocery giant Loblaw Companies Ltd. and George Weston Ltd. revealed earlier this week they participated in a co-ordinated bread pricing scheme from late 2001 to March 2015. The companies tipped off the Competition Bureau and struck an immunity deal to avoid criminal charges or other penalties from the ensuing investigation.
According to court documents, the regulator is also investigating the alleged involvement of Canada Bread, Walmart, Sobeys, Metro and Giant Tiger as well as "other persons known and unknown."
Details about the investigation are sparse and no criminal charges have been laid. Many of the companies say they do not suspect their companies or employees broke laws, and that they are fully co-operating.
"Price-fixing cases are actually quite common," said Jim Brander, a professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business in Vancouver.
Between 2001 and 2015, the consumer price index for bread, rolls and buns rose 96 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. During that same time frame, CPI for all food purchased from stores increased about 45 per cent.