In The American Prospect: Pandemic-Era Corporate Bullying

Date: 27 Mar 2024 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In a new study, the Federal Trade Commission found that big retailers — Walmart, Kroger, Amazon — threatened to punish suppliers unless they got first dibs on food and household goods during the pandemic. Senior Researcher Ron Knox explains it in The American Prospect, and recommends what the agency should do next.

“It’s a big deal when America’s top monopoly cop, the Federal Trade Commission, spends its finite time and resources studying an industry. The agency was created a century ago precisely to figure out which markets were working and which weren’t, but for decades the agency did very little of that kind of inquiry. Under Joe Biden, the FTC’s leadership has rekindled that core function, and last week the agency published the results of its examination of one of the decade’s most vexing problems: the fracturing of the grocery supply chain, and the subsequent and ongoing price hikes seen during and since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FTC’s supply chain study, two years in the making, was succinct but clear: Documents and data from some of America’s largest grocery retailers, producers, and wholesalers showed that in those first months after the onset of the pandemic, dominant mega-retailers had flexed their muscle as the country’s largest buyers of food, shampoo, toilet paper, and every other consumer good to demand their suppliers fill their shelves first, likely at the expense of smaller stores around the country.”

Read the rest of the article here.

If you like this post, be sure to sign up for the monthly Hometown Advantage newsletter for our latest reporting and research.

Avatar photo
Follow Susan Holmberg:
Susan Holmberg

Susan Holmberg is Senior Editor and Researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Independent Business Initiative. She writes on corporate power and inequality and has been published in the New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, The Nation, and Democracy Journal.

Avatar photo
Follow Ron Knox:
Ron Knox

Ron Knox is the Senior Researcher and Writer for ILSR's Independent Business Initiative.