Broadcast news RÚV reported yesterday that both current and former employees of the grocery stores Bónus, Hagkaup and Krónan had confirmed that their superiors had made a verbal agreement to fix prices on certain products, following a so-called “price war” between the stores in 2005.
The employees further stated that when the Federation of Labor Unions (ASÍ) was surveying the price of food products in these grocery stores, they lowered the price during the survey to have a more favorable outcome, Morgunbladid reports.
To test these accusations, RÚV sent two reporters to Krónan and Bónus to investigate the price of products like chicken breasts.
At first they were disguised as “normal housewives” shopping for groceries and then the reporter who went to Krónan appeared as a reporter intending to survey prices in Bónus and vica versa.
The price of chicken breasts remained the same in Bónus in both cases, but in Krónan, the kilo price of chicken breasts dropped by 34 percent when the reporter said the price was being included in the survey and a discount on the product was increased from ten percent to 50 percent.
Both managing director of Bónus Gudmundur Marteinsson and operational manager of Krónan Kristinn Skúlason denied accusations of price fixing and other deceptive tactics in price surveys in an interview with RÚV yesterday.
Minister of Commerce Björgvin G. Sigurdsson told Morgunbladid, that these accusations were very serious and that they called for an investigation.
“The Competition Authority is bound to react to these accusations. It is bound to investigate this in detail because it is both in the interest of the grocery stores and the consumers to find out whether this is true,” Sigurdsson said.
Marteinsson has also called for an investigation by the Competition Authority.