UK regulator eases up electrical goods market

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THE UK’s competition regulator said it would abolish a 13 year old order that prevents suppliers of electrical goods from recommending resale prices to retailers and from restricting or withholding supply from retailers.

The Competition Commission said on Thursday that significantly increased competition in the market for goods such as televisions and washing machines since the order was introduced in 1998 have removed the need for the safeguards it provided.

It said significant developments have included the entry of both grocery and online retailers into the supply of electrical goods, the increased ability for consumers to search and compare prices, as well as the emergence of new suppliers-both branded and retailer own-label.

The Competition Commission said that the Competition Act 1998 now provides an effective mechanism to address attempts to fix prices or restrict supply unfairly.

“This market has changed enormously since the order was introduced and there no longer seems any reason for these goods to require additional regulations in comparison with other consumer items,” said Competition Commission chairman Roger Witcomb.

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