Seven Seas, Roche win injunction against Asda over price discounts

BYLN: By Pippa Considine

Vitamin supplement company Seven Seas and Roche Consumer Healthcare, maker of Sanatogen and Redoxon, have been granted an injunction against Asda after the retailer discounted its brands.

However, Asda is continuing discounts across about 70 product lines, contravening Resale Price Maintenance (RPM) – which regulates prices in the sector.

According to Asda, the supplements manufacturers sought a wider ranging injunction, but the court has ruled that the price of only eight products should go back to resale price-maintained levels.

Last week the OFT started a review of vitamin and mineral products, as a result of Asda’s move.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s has matched Asda with a surprise 20 per cent discount on 75 vitamin and mineral branded products in its stores, including Seven Seas.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “It is unclear which of these products come under the RPM.”

She says that Sainsbury’s “agrees with the director general of the OFT, John Bridgeman, that the interests of consumers is of paramount concern and that in general the RPM gives them a bad deal”.

Neither Roche nor Seven Seas were able to confirm whether Sainsbury’s would face a similar injunction.

Tesco, like Boots The Chemist and Superdrug, is running price promotions, but these are limited to own-label vitamins and minerals.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents urged publishers, wholesalers and retailers to reform the newspaper and magazine distribution industry yesterday (Tuesday). Fears are growing that the industry faces a Monopolies & Mergers Commission inquiry into allegations that it is anti-competitive.

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