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Germany fines LEGO for playing with prices
[COPENHAGEN] Danish toy maker LEGO has been fined 130,000 euros (US$141,000) by German regulators for preventing stores from offering discounts on its popular toys in 2012 and 2013.
Bundeskartellamt, the German regulator, said LEGO kept lists of its toys, prices and retailers and threatened those shops that sought to lower their retail prices.
"In some cases the retailers were threatened with either a reduction in supply, or even with the refusal to supply if they offered articles at retail prices below those set in the lists," Bundeskartellamt said in a statement.
In other cases, discounts on the cost of LEGO products for stores were made conditional on the retailers maintaining the listed resale prices, the regulator said.
LEGO is the world's largest toymaker by sales having recently overtaken US Barbie-maker Mattel and Monopoly-board maker Hasbro.
"We take the non-compliant actions from the specific LEGO employees, as well as the decision of the Bundeskartellamt, very seriously and we have taken steps to prevent such conduct again," LEGO Chief Financial Officer John Goodwin said.
The Bundeskartellamt decision is based on findings from an internal LEGO investigation, initiated by the company based upon information received from the Bundeskartellamt.