The information went unnoticed, but could have serious consequences for some brands. The European Commission carried out on May 17 a series of spot checks on several companies in the fashion sector in several EU member states, it announced in a press release. It is suspected that they may have violated EU antitrust laws, which prohibit restrictive business agreements and practices.
The Commission also sent requests for information to several companies. The names of the companies involved have not been disclosed. The EU body did not mention which countries were involved, nor did it specify the exact nature of the investigation. Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from national competition authorities.
«Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in case of suspected anti-competitive practices,» explained the European Commission, which added that this does not mean «that the companies concerned have engaged in anti-competitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.»
Fines for this type of infringement can reach up to 10% of the company’s turnover.
«There is no legal deadline for completing investigations into anti-competitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, such as the complexity of each case, the degree of cooperation of the companies concerned with the Commission and the extent to which the rights of defense are exercised,» the European Union indicated.