For Your Information: September 13, 1996
The Federal Trade Commission today announced the following action.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final a consent agreement with the following entity. The Commission action makes the order binding on the respondent.
- New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., of Boston, Massachusetts, settling charges that it fixed the resale prices of its shoes in violation of antitrust laws. The consent order prohibits New Balance from fixing, controlling, or maintaining the prices at which retailers advertise, promote or offer for sale any New Balance athletic or casual footwear. The order also prohibits the firm from coercing or pressuring any retailer to maintain or adopt any resale price and from attempting to secure a retailer's commitment to any resale price. In addition, the order prohibits New Balance, for 10 years, from notifying a retailer in advance that the retailer is subject to partial or temporary suspension or termination as a New Balance dealer if it advertises products below New Balance's designated resale price, or that the retailer will be subject to greater sanction if it continues or renews selling New Balance products below the designated resale price. For five years, New Balance must clearly state in advertising, catalogs, or promotional materials where it suggests a resale price: "Although New Balance may suggest resale prices for products, retailers are free to determine on their own the prices at which they will advertise and sell New Balance products." (Docket No. C-3683; Commission vote on Sept. 10 to approve as final was 4-1, with Commissioner Roscoe B. Starek, III, dissenting, saying in a statement that "...certain provisions of the order are not required to prevent unlawful conduct and may instead unnecessarily restrain procompetitive conduct by New Balance." Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga issued a separate concurring statement "...to make clear my understanding that the complaint does not challenge the announcement or implementation by a supplier of a structured termination policy. ... New Balance did not implement its structured termination policy, and the complaint and order do not address the lawfulness of that policy.") Staff contact is Michael J. Bloom, FTC New York Regional Office, 212-264-1297.
Copies of the final order and the Commissioners' full statements are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases, related documents and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
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