Chile’s second largest supermarket operator, Cencosud, has defended the nature of the country’s supermarket sector, claiming it is competitive. The comments follow the news this week that Cencosud and its larger rival D&S are under investigation by Chile’s antitrust prosecutor.

The two major Chilean retailers are facing censure from anti-trust authorities over their dealings with suppliers, following a petition by the country’s anti-trust prosecutor to Chile’s highest anti-monopoly authority to prohibit certain practices.

National Economic Prosecutor Enrique Vergara has petitioned the Free Competition Tribunal to prohibit D&S and Cencosud from extending payments to suppliers beyond 30 days, making unjustified charges, executing inadequate contracts and making unilateral changes in contract conditions.

But Cencosud president Horst Paulmann told reporters yesterday (24 August): “I don’t think there’s an excess of regulation, because there’s nothing to regulate, because there is no monopoly in Chile.” Speaking to reporters following a meeting between business leaders and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, he added: “There are a lot of supermarkets and a lot of competition, and competition is always good.”