Dis-Chem denies excessive pricing charge

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JOHANNESBURG – Dis-Chem has denied allegations that it charged excessive prices during the national lockdown.

The Competition Commission says the retailer increased prices on essential hygienic goods to the detriment of consumers.

An investigation was launched after the commission received complaints from the public.

Most of the complaints related to the price of face masks.

  • For surgical face mask blue 50PC, the average price was inflated from R43.47 (excl VAT) per unit (50 masks) in February 2020 to R156.95 (excl VAT) per unit (50 masks) in March 2020, a price increase of 261 percent.
  • The surgical face masks 5PC, the average price increased from R13.27 (excl VAT) per unit (5 masks) in February 2020 to R19.03 (excl VAT) per unit (5 masks) in March 2020, a price increase of 43 percent.
  • Dis-Chem’s input costs with regards to the surgical face masks foliodress blue did not increase, but their gross profit margins inflated from 20 percent in February 2020 to 45 percent in March 2020

“People who sell these essential products ought to appreciate that these are literally life-saving items right now,” said Competition Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.

“They shouldn’t be exploitative and take advantage of cash-strapped consumers during the worst time in our history. We will spare no effort in protecting the consumer.”

Dis-Chem says its pricing is within regulated guidelines.

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Source:eNCA