PARIS — France’s competition authority on Thursday fined eyewear maker Luxottica 125 million euros for price-fixing and preventing retailers from selling its products online.
The French Competition Authority also applied lesser fines of 130,000 euros for Chanel and 500,000 euros for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. It declined to set a fine for eyewear manufacturer Logo, which has since gone into liquidation.
EssilorLuxottica, the company founded in 2018 from the merger of Italy’s Luxottica and France’s Essilor, said it would appeal the decision. Chanel and LVMH did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The watchdog said between 2005 and 2014, Luxottica provided retailers with recommended prices for its licensed brands, including Chanel, Ray‑Ban, Oakley, Prada, Burberry, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Michael Kors, Miu Miu and Ralph Lauren, and prevented them from offering discounts and promotions.
Those who did not comply were subjected to retaliatory measures such as late deliveries, or prevented from placing orders, it said.
“These practices, anticompetitive by nature, 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, since prescription eyewear, and in some cases sunglasses, are a necessity,” the FCA said in a statement.
“They also caused damage to the economy, insofar as this concerned well-known brands, affected intra-brand competition (price competition for the same product within different networks) for a long period of time, and affected a significant portion of retailers, including major national chains such as Alain Afflelou, Krys, GrandVision or Optical Center,” the authority added.
It said LVMH and Logo separately fixed prices for Tag Heuer-branded eyewear between 1999 and 2015. LVMH did not contest the allegations, and thereby benefited from a lower fine, it specified.
In addition, Chanel, Luxottica and LVMH prevented online sales. However, the FCA considered the damage caused by these practices was more limited.
EssilorLuxottica said it was confident that it would successfully contest the decision.
“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,” it said in a statement.