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Retailers lose bid to delay Massmart exclusivity complaint

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Cape Town - The Competition Tribunal announced on Friday that it has rejected the bid of a group of retailers to delay a hearing into an application brought by Massmart [JSE:MSM] objecting to exclusivity in lease agreements concerning its Game stores.

The local unit of Wal-Mart Stores wants to enter the fresh grocery products market through its Game store chain, but is unable to do so because of these agreements between grocers Shoprite [JSE:SHP], Pick n Pay [JSE:PIK], Spar [JSE:SPP] and shopping mall landlords.

The exclusive leases prevent another chain from selling fresh grocery products and can last anywhere from five to 20 years, according to Massmart, known for its Makro chain of wholesale stores. "The company is of the opinion that exclusive lease agreements are intuitively anti-competitive and prevent it from developing an offering that can compete effectively with the entrenched, national retail chains," Massmart previously said in a statement.

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