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Retailers can’t fob off cost of new price tags: FTC

JIJI

The Fair Trade Commission has instructed 10 major retailers not to force their clothing suppliers to shoulder the cost of new price tags that will be needed to reflect the consumption tax hike in April.

When placing orders for clothing and price tags, the retailers usually ask the suppliers to bear the cost of the tags, the anti-monopoly watchdog said.

But the FTC has determined the practice is a request for the provision of a benefit that is banned under a special law that says retailers must shoulder the costs of price tags related to tax hikes.

The tags in question have removable stickers showing the current price and the future price after the tax rate rises to 8 percent from 5 percent in April.

The FTC told the retailers Wednesday to pay for the price tags and encountered no opposition, the commission said.

The FTC also urged five retail industry organizations by writing to ensure member firms do not engage in similar practices.

The five are the Japan Department Stores Association, the Japan Chain Stores Association, the Japan Supermarkets Association, the New Japan Supermarket Association of Japan, and the Japanese Consumers’ Cooperative Union.

“If such a practice continues, the FTC may publish the names of companies and subject them to cease and desist orders,” an official of the commission said.

The FTC also said it has told client firms to improve steps to refuse tax hike-related price hikes in 139 cases by Wednesday.