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Court revives antitrust case against grocers

8th Circuit reversed lower court’s ruling that had dismissed the case

The case against two wholesalers—C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. and SuperValu Inc.—will see its day in court.

Yesterday, the 8th Circuit reversed a lower court’s ruling dismissing the case, which five grocers brought against the two companies claiming they colluded to raise prices on groceries. The grocers say that a 2003 agreement between C&S and SuperValu to exchange assets in the Midwest and New England and not compete with each other for customers was a violation of antitrust laws. They claim the deal allowed the two wholesalers to overcharge retail customers in the Midwest and New England.

Each of the retailers had arbitration agreements with one or the other wholesaler. To get around having to arbitrate the case, the retailers brought suit against the wholesaler with which they did not have an arbitration agreement. The question over these agreements played a role in the previous court’s decision to dismiss.

According to Thomson Reuters, SuperValu said it is currently reviewing its options. C&S had not responded to Thomson Reuters request for comment.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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