Watchdog pays £100,000 damages to supermarket chain

The Office of Fair Trading today apologised to Morrisons and agreed £100,000 damages after the retailer was wrongly identified in a price-fixing probe.

The watchdog announced the settlement after Morrisons took legal action over a press release issued in September by the OFT at the same time as a statement of objections against a number of large supermarkets and dairy processors.

The release incorrectly stated that Morrisons was the subject of a provisional finding of infringement in relation to the supply of butter and cheese in 2002 and 2003. It also said the supermarket had previously been warned by the OFT against anti-competitive behaviour, which was not the case.

In fact, the only allegation relating to Morrisons involved liquid milk products in 2002.

The watchdog said today: "The OFT regrets that the press release contained these serious errors, and wishes to apologise sincerely to Morrisons for their publication."

The OFT agreed to pay Morrisons £100,000 in settlement of the defamation action and to pay the supermarket's costs in relation to the judicial review and defamation actions launched by Morrisons.

Supermarkets Asda, Sainsbury's and Safeway, prior to its takeover by Morrisons, as well as a number of dairies, have already admitted price-fixing during 2002 and 2003.

The firms will pay combined fines of more than £120 million, with dairies Robert Wiseman, Dairy Crest and The Cheese Company also found provisionally guilty by the OFT last September.

But retailers Tesco and Morrisons are still fighting the OFT claims.

Morrisons said at the time of the findings last autumn that it did not believe it was involved in any price-fixing collusion.

It said in a statement that objections will be made that Morrisons "should not be a part of this inquiry and that Morrisons inherited from Safeway a matter not of its making or doing".

The OFT has already issued a clarification of its statement of objections, stressing that the provisional findings relating to Morrisons concerned milk products in 2002 only.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor