Narta International is the bulk-buying force behind 32 retail brands, including David Jones.
Narta International is the bulk-buying force behind 32 retail brands, including David Jones. Kieran Salsone

ACCC rejects retail buying group's bid to set minimum prices

A HUGE retail buying group will not be able to set minimum prices on electrical goods at several of Australia's leading retailers, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission rejected the scheme on Thursday.

The buying group, Narta International, is the bulk-buying force behind 32 retail brands, including David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, Bing Lee, Radio Rentals, Ted's Cameras, Betta Electrical and Retravision.

It applied to the commission for approval to set minimum advertising prices on a wide range of electrical goods, which could have led to set prices on televisions, fridges and other electrical products for consumers across the country.

But in a draft decision released on Thursday, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he was concerned the proposal could "reduce competition between retailers and result in higher prices for consumers".

"This is particularly a concern for competition with online retailers, which generally do not negotiate their selling prices down from the advertised price like bricks and mortar retailers might do," he said.

The application could have led to new products released to the market being priced exactly the same at all 30 retailers who bulk buy through Narta across Australia.

But the draft determination was not the final decision, with the ACCC now inviting submissions on the proposal before it hands down its final decision.


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