FTC probes profit margins of major retailers in supply chain investigation


The Federal Trade Commission is asking Amazon, Walmart and seven other retailers and wholesalers for internal documents, as part of a recently launched investigation into supply chain disruptions.

The FTC said on Monday it was examining the supply chain bottlenecks that have plagued businesses large and small since the Coronavirus pandemic has begun. As part of its investigation, large companies are being asked to hand over what would normally be considered confidential data. Each has 45 days to respond, the FTC said.

“Supply chain disruptions are disrupting the supply and delivery of a wide range of goods, from computer chips and drugs to meat and timber,” FTC President Lina Khan said on Monday, in a press release.

Khan added that the FTC will also examine whether supply chain issues add to the rise in consumer prices or encourage companies to engage in anti-competitive practices.

The FTC has sent letters to Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods, McLane Co. and Kraft Heinz. Most of these companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS MoneyWatch.

Spokesmen for McLane, C&S Wholesale and Kraft Heinz told CBS MoneyWatch their companies plan to cooperate fully with the FTC investigation. The National Grocers Association, a Washington trade group, said it also welcomes the investigation.

“60 Minutes” investigates the supply chain crisis …


During the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, many foreign manufacturers reduced their production of consumer products as they faced national lockdowns and labor shortages as workers who were sick or afraid of falling ill did not show up for work.

Worldwide supply chain bottlenecks and shipping delays led to a unprecedented backlog of ships awaiting unloading. Many freighters waiting to unload their goods are moored in American ports, supplied with incompatible products reach the shelves of stores.

Electronics, jewelry, clothing and even pet supplies at the top of the list of products currently in short supply due to the global supply chain crisis. The Biden administration said in June it had created a task force to further investigate the disruption in order to resolve the issue.

Will continue until 2022

The supply chain problems facing the United States are likely to continue until 2022, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN last month. Suppliers continue to experience staff shortages and, in some cases, missing shipping containers, further hampering how quickly the issue can be resolved, the dean of the university’s business school said. from Miami, John Quelch, to CBSN’s Lana Zak.

The FTC is asking companies to detail the main factors disrupting their access to products, including items most affected and companies’ responses to those challenges. The agency also asks for business strategies on pricing, sales volumes, supplier selection, market share and product promotions.


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