SAN FRANCISCO Jan 29 Costco Wholesale Corp
(COST.O) lost a bid on Tuesday to overturn Washington state
liquor rules that control pricing and discounts.
In 2004, the largest U.S. warehouse club operator filed a
complaint against the Washington State Liquor Control Board and
claimed that nine of its laws and regulations restricted
For example, the state bans liquor distributors and
suppliers from offering customer price discounts based on
purchase volume, and it requires most liquor distributors and
suppliers to price their products at least 10 percent above
their acquisition costs.
Reversing a lower court decision, a three-judge panel on
the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that these and
other pricing provisions are constitutional.
The panel found that only two of the challenged laws
violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. These laws require alcohol
distributors to record their wholesale prices with the state
liquor board and to hold to these prices for at least 30 days.
Costco's warehouses offer their 50 million members
discounted prices on national brand and private-label products,
(Reporting by Amanda Beck; editing by Adam Tanner and Braden