FTC Asks Walmart, Amazon What Could Cause Supply Chain Disruptions

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The Federal Trade Commission or FTC has ordered Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and certain other large wholesalers and suppliers to provide information to help it study causes of supply chain disruptions.

The agency has launched an inquiry to find the reasons for empty shelves and exorbitant prices.

Along with Walmart, Amazon.com, and Kroger, the order has been sent to C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Co., Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods, and Kraft Heinz.

The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond. They are required to detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products, and its impact in terms of delayed and canceled orders.

The companies are also asked to detail increased costs and prices; the most affected products, suppliers and inputs; the steps they are taking to alleviate disruptions as well as how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply.

In its statement, the agency noted that the study will examine whether supply chain disruptions are leading to specific bottlenecks, shortages, anticompetitive practices, or contributing to rising consumer prices.

Chair Lina Khan said, "Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber. I am hopeful the FTC's new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects."

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