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LONDON, June 13 Britain's three biggest
department stores John Lewis, Debenhams and
House of Fraser have been cleared by a competition watchdog of
colluding with a lingerie manufacturer to fix the price of a
market-leading sports bra.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said on Friday
it had closed its investigation into allegations involving
DBApparel UK Ltd (DBA), which made the popular 'Shock Absorber'
brand of sports bras, and the three retailers.
A formal investigation was launched by the CMA's
predecessor, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), last year
following a complaint.
The OFT issued a Statement of Objections in September
alleging that DBA had entered into nine agreements with the
department stores between 2008 and 2011 that infringed
competition law by setting a fixed or minimum resale price,
raising the possibility of punitive fines.
All four companies denied the allegations.
"Having carefully reviewed the evidence in this case,
including the parties' representations, we have decided that
there are no grounds for action by the CMA," said Philip
Marsden, chair of the Case Decision Group.
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)