New CMA taskforce to protect shoppers during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Date : 24 March 2020

James Walton

Chief Economist

The UK government has taken steps to relax aspects of competition law, allowing businesses to co-operate to improve supplies of necessities to shoppers during the viral outbreak LINK.

These measures are of limited effect and duration and apply primarily to retailers, allowing them to:

  • Co-operate to keep stores open
  • Pool staff
  • Share information on stock levels
  • Share transport and warehousing

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has, however, warned that businesses will not be permitted to take advantage of Coronavirus to indulge in abusive practices LINK.

More recently, the CMA has announced the creation of a new Coronavirus “taskforce”, intended to scrutinise business practice during this period  LINK.

The CMA states that it has already issued warnings to certain businesses regarding the pricing of hand sanitiser specifically.

Note that the CMA continues to pursue other areas of work, due to the need to hit statutory deadlines for investigations.

Looking for more insight?

For the latest government guidelines on Coronavirus (COVID-19), please check out IGD’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub.

For latest insights to help your business understand what the food  grocery industry is doing to address the evolving pandemic, please visit our Retail Analysis Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub.