The Chilean unit of Walmart Inc. has been sued in Chile by suppliers alleging anti-competitive practices, Reuters reported.
The suit was filed in the Tribunal for the Defense of Free Competition by a trade association that represents companies including Coca-Cola and Unilever, the report said.
The suit alleges Walmart undermined free competition because it “exploited in an abusive manner its dominant position in the supermarket supply market, by imposing on its suppliers the contracting of certain services and establishing arbitrary values associated with them,” according to the news outlet.
In a statement sent to Reuters on Thursday (Oct. 29) Walmart Chile said it had not been informed about the lawsuit, and added it tried to forge “virtuous and long-term” relationships with its suppliers.
“We believe that relations with our suppliers should be governed by the principles of respect for free competition, for which we work to establish transparent objectives, terms and conditions known in advance by both parties,” the statement from Walmart Chile said, per Reuters.
According to Walmart’s corporate website, company’s units in Chile included 369 retail locations as of July 31, 2020. Broken down by retail brand, those locations included 56 Ekono stores, 116 Superbodega Acuenta stores, 104 Lider Express stores, 87 Lider Hiper stores and six Central Mayorista stores.
Lider “is known for offering a wide range of products, including home appliances, electronics, textiles, hardware and toys, in addition to traditional grocery lines, as well as different additional services, provided directly by our company or through some partner,” Walmart states in marketing materials. “It offers first-class domestic and imported products, some of them brought directly from Walmart US. The average size of their stores is above 100,000 square feet.”
Superbodega Acuenta is a discount store “focused on offering quality products at low and first prices. Products include food, clothing and household items, with a wide range of private brands,” Walmart states in its marketing materials.
Central Mayorista serves only businesses.
In total, according to Walmart, the locations employed 45,900 people as of June of this year.
Walmart has previously faced litigation by Chilean companies alleging improprieties in the U.S.-based retailer’s business practices.