Grocery giant offers $25 gift card in bread price collusion case

( Dec 19th, 2017 - Kingston, ON ) Grocery giant Loblaw Cos Ltd, its parent George Weston Ltd and other grocery retailers have admitted to price fixing on bread products for over a decade, and are offering eligible customers a $25 grocery gift card as compensation.

The admission comes after a Competition Bureau investigation which found that several supermarkets had been colluding to artificially increase the price ofseveral types of packaged bread products since 2001. Bread manufacturing giants Canada Bread Co. Ltd. and Weston Bakeries were also implicated. The concession comes after the Competition Bureau conducted searches in several of the companies' corporate offices.

In a statement, Loblaw said they had "discovered that Canadians were overcharged for the cost of some packaged bread products in our stores and other grocery stores across Canada. In response, we're offering eligible customers a $25 Loblaw Card, which can be used to purchase items sold in our grocery stores across Canada."

"This sort of behavior is wrong and has no place in our business or Canada's grocery industry," Galen G. Weston, chairman and CEO of both Loblaw Cos Ltd and George Weston Ltd, said in a statement late Tuesday. Loblaw will book a $75 million to $150 million charge quarterly charge in its financial statements as a result of the compensation program. It expects that 3 to 6 million Canadians will file for the gift card offer.

Claims for the $25 gift card can be made at Registration for the Loblaw Card Program will open on January 8, 2018.