French competition watchdog fines eyewear makers

PARIS — France’s competition authority on Thursday sanctioned four companies in the eyewear sector – Luxottica, LVMH, Chanel and Logo – for imposing sale prices on their retailers and forbidding them to sell online.

The total amount of sanctions imposed on the four companies is €125.8 million. The fine imposed on the world’s largest eyewear maker, French-Italian Luxottica, accounts for €125.17 million.

The French watchdog notably found that Luxottica, LVMH and Logo limited their retailers’ freedom fo fix final sale prices for fashion glasses with brands such as Chanel, Ray Ban, Prada and Bulgari. Luxottica punished retailers which didn’t comply with its pricing policy with retaliatory measures such as stopping deliveries.

The authority also established that, in their distribution contracts with retailers, Luxottica, LVMH and Chanel explicitly forbid online sales of glasses by fashion brands Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Bulgari.

Eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica, which owns Luxottica, has already been under the scrutiny of the European Commission, which looked into the progressive expansion of the group under the lenses of EU merger rules.

Earlier this year, after an in-depth probe, Brussels cleared EssilorLuxottica’s acquisition of Dutch optical retailer GrandVision. In 2018 it cleared the merger between Italy’s Luxottica Group and France’s Essilor International to form EssilorLuxottica.

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