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Wal-Mart Settles Predatory Pricing Charge

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 1, 2001 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/walmart-settles-predatory-pricing-charge/

Wal-Mart admits no wrongdoing and will not pay a fine in a settlement reached with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection over a predatory pricing complaint filed by the agency last year. The company will, however, face double or triple fines for any future violations, according to the terms of the agreement.

The complaint accused Wal-Mart of selling butter, milk, laundry detergent, and other staple goods below cost at stores in Beloit, Oshkosh, Racine, Tomah, and West Bend. A bottle of laundry detergent that cost Wal-Mart $6.51, for example, was sold for less than $5 at several stores. The company’s intention, according to the complaint, was to force competitors out of business, gain a monopoly in local markets, and ultimately recoup its losses through higher prices. State officials filed the complaint after Wal-Mart failed to take corrective action following several warning letters sent as early as 1993.

Although most, if not all, states have received numerous complaints from small business owners about Wal-Mart’s anti-competitive practices, Wisconsin is the first state to investigate predatory pricing at the company’s outlets and file a formal complaint.

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where she directs initiatives on independent business and community banking. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her recent TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

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