The European Commission has fined Guess for restricting retailers from online advertising and selling cross-border to consumers in other Member States in breach of article 101 of TFEU. Because of Guess cooperation with the Commission, a reduction of the fine by 50% has been applied and the fine imposed amounts to €39.821.000,00.
The Commission opened the formal antitrust investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of Guess in June 2017. The investigation was aimed at assessing whether Guess illegally restricted retailers from selling cross-border to consumers within the EU Single Market.
- using the Guess brand names and trademarks for the purposes of online search advertising;
- selling online without a prior specific authorisation by Guess, in the absence of any specified quality criteria;
- selling to consumers located outside the authorised retailers’ allocated territories;
- cross-selling among authorised wholesalers and retailers; and
- independently deciding on the retail price at which they sell Guess products.
In this context, the agreements have allowed Guess to partition European markets, with the consequence that in Central and Eastern European countries the retail prices of Guess products are, on average, 5-10% higher than in Western Europe. The conducts have deprived European consumers of one of the core benefits of the European Single Market – namely the possibility to shop cross-borders for more choice and a better deal