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Attorney General Lockyer Announces $34 Million National Settlement With Shoe Maker Nine West
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that California and 45 other states have reached a $34 million antitrust settlement with New York-based shoe manufacturer Nine West Group Inc., over allegations of price fixing.
The settlement resolves an antitrust complaint that Nine West Group entered into illegal agreements with shoe stores to fix the retail price of women's shoes between January 1988 and July 1999. Nine West Group of White Plains, NY, was acquired by Jones Apparel Group, Inc., in June 1999.
According to the antitrust complaint filed in federal court in New York, the company's alleged price fixing resulted in consumers being denied an open, competitive market and paying higher prices for women's shoes and other footware. An investigation by the states with the Federal Trade Commission found evidence that various Nine West divisions, including Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini and Nine West, engaged in illegal vertical resale price fixing by prohibiting retailers from discounting certain footware and by restricting when the stores could offer shoe discounts to consumers.
Under the settlement, Nine West Group has agreed to:
* Refrain from agreements or business practices during the next five years that are designed to influence or control the price at which retailers chose to sell Nine West products to consumers.
* Notify each of its dealers and retailers that they have a right to independently determine the price at which to advertise and sell Nine West products.
* Pay $34 million into a settlement fund. Of the total, $30.5 million will be divided, based on population, among the states in the settlement. California's share is approximately $3.6 million. The states will use the funds for women's health, educational, vocational and safety programs. Up to $3.5 million will be used to reimburse states for attorneys fees and certain other costs.
Under terms of the agreement, which must be approved by the court, Nine West Group did not admit any liability or wrongdoing.