Super-Sol CEO Efi Rosenhaus was questioned yesterday under caution by the Antitrust Authority over allegedly threatening them against "cooperating" with rival chain Blue Square's discounts drive. Suppliers have complained about receiving threats and allege that Super-Sol actually did remove their products from store shelves.
The Antitrust Authority confirmed that an investigation was underway. If Super-Sol has been threatening the suppliers, it would among other things be contravening the terms under which it was allowed to buy Clubmarket three years ago. Namely, it can't refuse to work with suppliers that sell to its rival, or intervene in the business relations between suppliers and Blue Square. Nor is it allowed to boycott a supplier that works with rival retailers.
The watchdog raided Super-Sol's head office in Rishon Letzion yesterday, and also talked with the managements of suppliers, including Osem, Strauss, Wissotsky, and Coca-Cola Israel.
The titanic struggle between Super-Sol and Blue Square intensified recently, after the latter launched a new discount chain, called Mega-Bool.
Last week, Super-Sol ran whole-page ads in the papers, showing special prices at its discount outlets, Super-Sol Deal and Super-Sol Big. That very day, Blue Square ran ads of its own, showing special prices at Mega outlets - the thing is that nine of the 10 products Blue Square presented were the same as in Super-Sol's ads.
Sources near Super-Sol said infuriated management hit back at the suppliers behind the discount prices by removing their products from stores. The products included Prigat juice, Wissotsky ice tea drinks and Shahar chocolate spread.
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