FTC Orders Walmart, Amazon to Explain 'Sky-High Prices'

9 companies asked to turn over information on supply chain woes
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2021 6:43 AM CST
FTC Orders Walmart, Amazon to Explain 'Sky-High Prices'
A shopper passes empty shelves at a Safeway grocery store on Nov. 18, 2021, in Alameda, Calif.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

(Newser) – Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger will have 45 days to answer to the Federal Trade Commission for their "empty shelves and sky-high prices." With the holiday shopping season now underway, the FTC has ordered nine large retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers including Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods, Kraft Heinz Co., and McLane Co., to turn over information as it investigates the causes behind supply chain disruptions, which are "upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a Monday statement, per USA Today.

The FTC's study will examine "whether supply chain disruptions are leading to specific bottlenecks, shortages, anticompetitive practices, or contributing to rising consumer prices." Companies, which have 45 days to respond to the order once received, must "detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products;" the impact on costs and prices; "the steps the companies are taking to alleviate disruptions; and how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply." The commission is also looking for internal documents related to pricing, marketing, profit margins, and market shares.

McLane Co. was the only one of the nine companies to immediately state that it will comply, per CBS News. Though supply chain issues are expected to stretch into 2022, the CEOs of Kroger, Walmart, Food Lion, Best Buy, Samsung, and Etsy "reassured" Biden during a Monday conference at the White House, USA Today reports. "While we're all concerned about the supply chain, we have more inventory than we did a year ago," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said. "And we are seeing progress. The port and transit delays are improving." Indeed, McMillon said Walmart saw a 26% increase in throughput at ports across the country in the past four weeks, CNBC reports. (Read more supply chain stories.)

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