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Distorted competition: Below-cost legislation, ‘ marges arrière ' and prices in French retailing

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The aim of this article is to demonstrate that the French Galland Act, outlawing below-cost resale via new and more severe invoicing regulation, has reduced the intensity of price competition among retailers in relation to branded goods. Moreover, the reduced intensity of price competition in the retail industry has encouraged a lessening of competition among the manufacturers of major industrial brands. Together, these two effects have sown the seeds of a sustained increase in the price of major brands, accentuating retail competition based more on differentiation than on price. These sustained policies have favoured the development of retailer brands and of hard discount stores and finally encouraged new types of reactions from major retailers and leading manufacturers, such as new types of promotions circumventing the Galland Act and a more intense lobbying activity in order to reform it.
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Keywords: French retailing; Galland Act; below-cost legislation; marges arrière (or ‘back' margins); price competition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: NEGOCIA, 8 Avenue de la Porte de Champerret, 75838, Paris Cedex 17, France

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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