Office of Fair Trading agrees to pay retail giant £100,000 after accusing business of anti-competitive behaviour

The OFT has apologised to the supermarket Morrisons over false allegations related to price fixing.

It has agreed to pay Morrisons £100,000 in settlement of a defamation action brought by the Bradford-based retail giant.

Like the building firms accused by the OFT of bid rigging, Morrisons was included in an OFT Statement of Objections concerning anti-competitive behaviour.

The defamation occurred in a press release issued by the OFT that stated that Morrisons was the subject of a provisional OFT finding of infringement in relation to milk, cheese and butter between 2002 and 2003.

It also stated that Morrisons had been previously warned of anti-competitor behaviour.

The OFT today accepted both these statements were in false, although it does say Morrisons was the subject of allegations concerning liquid milk products. It said it “regrets any misunderstanding arising from the quoted remarks.”

The investigation is ongoing and the OFT said it remained open minded about its provisional findings pending consideration of Morrisons’ response and the rest of the evidence.