Dixons prices investigated

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The Independent Online
DIXONS faces an investigation into its pricing policy after Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, outlined his concerns to the Director General of Fair Trading, writes Rachel Sylvester.

Mr Mandelson took the unusual step of contacting John Bridgeman, the Director General, on Friday, informing him of claims that consumers were getting a "raw deal" because of the store's dominant position in the computer market.

He said he was "extremely concerned" that the high cost of computers at Dixons could undermine Britain's chances of "realising its full potential in the world economy".

The minister's intervention followed calls from the Consumers' Association for the Government to investigate "Dixons' monopoly position in the high- street PC market". It also came after Intel, the world's largest semiconductor chip-maker, claimed that high prices charged by Dixons were holding back computer sales in the UK. The average cost of a PC in this country is around one-third higher than in the US and Germany.