The Federal Trade Commission ordered Walmart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report and seven other consumer-related companies to provide information about supply-chain disruption.
The purpose is to “help the FTC shed light on the causes behind ongoing supply chain disruptions and how these disruptions are causing serious and ongoing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy,” the agency said in a statement.
The idea is “to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose,” the FTC said.
The other seven companies are Kroger (KR) - Get Kroger Co. Report, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane, Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report, Tyson Foods (TSN) - Get Tyson Foods, Inc. Class A Report and Kraft Heinz (KHC) - Get Kraft Heinz Company Report. The companies have 45 days to respond.
“Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber,” FTC Chair Lina Khan noted.
“I am hopeful the FTC’s study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects.”
The study will look at whether any anticompetitive practices are at work.
“The orders require the companies to detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products; the impact these disruptions are having in terms of delayed and canceled orders, increased costs and prices; the products, suppliers and inputs most affected; and the steps the companies are taking to alleviate disruptions; and how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply,” the FTC said.