Givenchy gives way on retail

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The Independent Online
THE European Commission has approved conditions set by Parfums Givenchy, part of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, for marketing of its goods after the French perfumes and cosmetics maker agreed to give its stockists complete freedom to sell rival products.

The Commission said that as a result of the changes it had granted Givenchy's so-called selective distribution contract a temporary exemption from the full force of the Community's anti-trust rules until 31 May 1997.

The contractual changes brought about by the Commission at Givenchy and, last December, at its French rival, Yves Saint- Laurent Group, would strengthen competition and would be used by the Commission as a model for the sector, it said.

A Commission spokesman said the main change was that Givenchy had been made to drop a clause in its contracts with distributors that limited the choice of competing brands they could stock.

'This restriction must be abolished,' he said.

The Commission said many companies in the sector had adopted this practice, indicating that they, too, would be forced to abandon it.

Other changes imposed by the Commission on both Givenchy and Yves Saint-Laurent include the scrapping of limits on the number of retail outlets they authorised, and allowing stockists to set their own prices for the firms' products.