Coca-Cola must yield chiller space to rivals following a European Commission ruling giving retailers greater recourse against suppliers who abuse their market dominance.
The development concludes a six-year investigation into the company’s practices and influence across Europe and will apply to 27 EU member states.
It ratifies undertakings made by Coca-Cola in October when the company agreed to allow retailers to stock at least 20% of competitors’ products in its own chillers. Other elements of the agreement preclude striking exclusivity deals and prevent discounts to retailers being dependent on achieving sales targets. It also means retailers cannot be forced to sell other Coca-Cola brands with Coke.
Last year, Coca-Cola came under fire for stopping retailers selling rival bottled water brands after the launch of Dasani.
According to John Markham, competition law specialist at legal firm CMS Cameron McKenna, the decision sets a precedent for other suppliers. “Retailers faced with suppliers abusing their dominant position can turn round and remind them of this decision.”