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February 2, 2004

USA: Grocery retailers face antitrust lawsuit over profit pact

California's attorney general has said he will file a lawsuit against three US grocery retailers involved in a labour dispute in Southern California. The complaint claims that a plan by the three retailers, Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway, to share profits related to the labour dispute violates antitrust laws.

California’s attorney general has said he will file a lawsuit against three US grocery retailers involved in a labour dispute in Southern California.

A spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer told Reuters the lawsuit would be filed today [Monday].

The complaint claims that a plan by the three retailers, Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway, to share profits related to the labour dispute violates antitrust laws.

In October grocery workers at Safeway’s Vons and Pavilion stores in Southern California went on strike over health benefits, which led to lockouts at Kroger and Albertsons stores.

“This action is about protecting shoppers against unlawful, anti-competitive conduct that keeps prices artificially high,” Lockyer said in a statement.  

The three grocery chains have said the lawsuit is without merit, reported Dow Jones News.

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