BUSINESS French Competition Authority Sanctions Luxottica, LVMH and Other Brands for Online Sales Restrictions; Luxottica Will Appeal the Decision By Staff Friday, July 23, 2021 12:27 AM PARIS—The French Competition Authority (FCA) issued a statement yesterday stating that it sanctioned Luxottica, LVMH and other brands for having imposed retail prices on opticians and forbidding product sales online. The decision fined Luxottica €125 million, referencing all Luxottica brands, including Chanel, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada, Burberry, Blugari, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Armani, Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Ralph Lauren. The authority also fined LVMH €500,000 for the Tag Heuer brand. Logo was also sanctioned, but not fined because the company has gone into liquidation. Chanel was fined €130,000.In its own statement yesterday, EssilorLuxottica acknowledged the FCA’s fine and stated that the fine “closes an investigation initiated in 2005 which was considered insufficient by the FCA in 2017.” EssilorLuxottica plans to challenge the fine. EssilorLuxottica said, “EssilorLuxottica firmly believes it has always conducted business according to the highest standard of compliance, always supporting customers, partners as well as the entire market. As such, the company strongly disagrees with the Authority’s decision and considers the sanction highly disproportionate and groundless. The company will appeal the decision, confident that it will successfully demonstrate that the decision is wrong both from a factual and a legal perspective.” The FCA's statement said that Luxottica provided retailers with recommended prices for its licensed brands between 2005 and 2014, and also prevented them from running discounts or promotions. In addition, the FCA stated that “opticians who persist in ignoring Luxottica's messages have seen retaliatory measures applied: delay or suspension of deliveries to their stores, withdrawal of the authorization necessary for the distribution of some of its brands or even blocking of accounts for them.” In regard to LVMH, the FCA said LVMH and Logo separately fixed prices for Tag Heuer-branded eyewear between 1999 and 2015. LVMH did not contest the allegations, so it received a lower fine, Yahoo News reported. In its statement, the FCA said, “These practices, anticompetitive by their very object, are serious. In particular, they involved the implementation of surveillance and retaliatory mechanisms. They have, moreover, affected end consumers who are partly captive and vulnerable, the equipment in prescription glasses, such as, in certain cases, sunglasses, being a necessity. "They also caused a certain damage to the economy, insofar as they related to well-known brands, affected intra-brand competition (price competition for the same product within different networks) for a period of time, long term, and concerned a significant proportion of distributors, including major national brands such as Alain Afflelou, Krys, GrandVision or Optical Center.” Safilo Group was involved in the initial 2005 investigation, but was not fined yesterday. In a statement, Safilo Group said, “Safilo is pleased with the decision issued today by the French Competition Authority dismissing all the charges which had been raised against it and which Safilo has vigorously challenged with its internal and external legal team, led by François Brunet and Céline Verney of the law firm Hogan Lovells.”The full press release from the FCA is available online in both French and English here.