DS2620 - ICA: Coronavirus emergency, investigation launched into price increases for food and detergents, disinfectants and gloves
The Authority launched a pre-preliminary investigation by sending requests for information to numerous operators in the GDO to acquire data on the dinamics of retail prices and wholesale purchase prices of basic foodstuffs, cleansers, disinfectants and disposable gloves, in order to identify any phenomena exploiting the health emergency based on increasing their prices.
The requests for information concern over 3,800 sales outlets, mainly placed in central and southern Italy, accounting for about 85% of the total recorded by the data analytics company Nielsen in the provinces that could be concerned by the above-mentioned phenomena.
Specifically, the preliminary analysis carried out by the Authority on Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) data showed increases in the prices of food products in March 2020, compared to the current prices in previous months, differentiated at provincial level.
The largest increases have been found in areas that are not affected by “red zones” or by strengthened measures to contain mobility.
The Authority could not rule out the possibility that these higher increases were also due to speculative phenomena.
In fact, not all the recorded increases appear to be immediately attributable to structural reasons, such as the greater weight of purchases in neighbourhood shops, less competition between sales outlets due to restrictions on consumer mobility, supply tensions caused by the sharp increase in demand for certain goods during the lockdown and the limitations on production and transport induced by the measures to contain the epidemic.
The main recipients of the requests for information are:
- Carrefour Italia SpA, MD SpA, Lidl SpA, Eurospin SpA, F.lli Arena srl,
- some Conad cooperatives (Conad Sicilia, Conad Nord-Ovest, PAC 2000, Conad Adriatico as well as Margherita Distribuzione),
- some cooperatives and master Coop franchisors (Unicoop Firenze, Unicoop Tirreno, Coop Centro Italia, Coop Liguria, Novacoop, Coop Alleanza 3.0, Tatò Paride)
- various Ce.Di. members of SISA (e.g. SISA Sicilia), SIGMA (e.g. Ce.Di. Sigma Campania) and CRAI (e.g. CRAI Regina srl).
Rome, 7 May 2020