Mar 21, 2024 - Business

FTC says grocers took advantage of pandemic

Illustration of a paper bag full of golden groceries.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Federal Trade Commission is accusing certain grocers of taking advantage of customers during the pandemic by raising prices unfairly, Nathan writes.

The big picture: The FTC acknowledged that supply chain issues caused "sustained stress" but said the price hikes stemming from those challenges exceeded the related cost increases.

  • "Some firms seem to have used rising costs as an opportunity to further hike prices to increase their profits, and profits remain elevated even as supply chain pressures have eased," the FTC said today in the report.
  • It also noted that supply chain disruptions during the pandemic showed how "powerful retailers" can "distort product allocations ... to entrench their market power."

What they're saying: The National Grocers Association, which represents independent grocers and wholesalers, hailed the FTC's findings.

The bottom line: The FTC said Congress should dig deeper.

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This story was an excerpt from Axios Closer, a recap on the day's biggest business stories.

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