Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Countdown to disappointment?

It seems generally agreed that if what Shane Jones says is true, Countdown have been behaving badly and "something" should be done. Beating up on suppliers to extract one-off payments just sounds like bad form - right?

So its fair enough that the Commerce Commission has opened an inquiry and several suppliers have made statements. But just between you & me, those politicians and suppliers shouldn't get their hopes up. Here's why.

The first point is that there is no law against being a commercial bully. Suppose you own an airport or a sports ground or you attract a big crowd to a music festival. You've now got market power over a bunch of people, and you can use that power to jack up prices for drinks and food as high as you want. No problem. The same thing applies if your market power is in buying stuff rather than selling it. So, for example, lots of government agencies tender out work with the deliberate aim of getting the lowest possible price for a given level of quality. All good.

There are three exceptions to this under the Commerce Act.

  1. If you really face little or no competition (eg power line companies) then you might get regulated under part 4. This isn't a risk for the supermarkets because the Commission is looking for potential anti-competitive conduct not considering price control.
  2. It is a very serious sin to collude with your rivals and gang up on the consumer - i.e. form a cartel. No suggestion of that here though. This is unilateral conduct by Countdown.
  3. If your bullying results in a substantial lessening of competition, then you might be in breach of s36. This looks to me like the only possible angle in Countdown's case. 

Which is a problem for two reasons. First, s36 is widely viewed as being broken. Whether it really is broken is a subject for another day, but it is noteworthy that the Commerce Commission believes it to be so, and to my knowledge has prosecuted no s36 cases since it came to that view.

But more substantively, how does Countdown's conduct reduce competition? I would expect Countdown to argue that their supermarkets compete with other supermarkets. They don't all stock the same lines, so why is competition lessened if some suppliers don't get shelf space in Countdown?

There could be a plausible argument for why this lessens competition, but its not obvious. At first glance this looks more like your bog standard price gouging, which is perfectly fine under the law.


  1. I was surprised that what looked like slotting fees were an issue. Had thought those were pretty standard!

    Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

    Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

    There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

    This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

    For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

    Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. Wanna know more, email us on workfromhome.otr214429@gmail.com and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.

    Internet related work
    This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214429@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.

    Diet food
    Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

    Thus think over this concept and go ahead.