During the last ten year the initial decentralisation in the food retail distribution sector has changed to an increasing concentration and the previously separated retail and wholesale trade have became more and more integrated.

Retail distribution networks and new business methods appeared, raised efficiency and welfare, and changed the habit of the customers. Although the networks` popularity and turnover are growing the market is almost saturated and competition is intense.

The applicant undertaking, the Tesco hypermarket network has been active on the Hungarian market since 1996. In 2000 it had 15 hypermarkets, 4 of them in or near Budapest. Tesco provides 70-80 thousand kinds of products in each hypermarket (food and non-food products). It opened two new hypermarket near Budapest and not far from two premises of the company Auchan in November 2000.

Tesco issued a throwaway leaflet on 22 of November with a date of a day earlier and distributed it in the car park of Auchan. The throwaway showed a price comparison of 24 goods sold by both Tesco and Auchan. The throwaway stated that an amount of savings is to be reached if the customers buy these goods at Tesco instead of Auchan. Similar throwaways were issued on 23 and 30 November.

The throwaways compared similar goods but not of the same kind. The origin of these goodsand in some cases their put up (weight, size) were not the same. Some goods mentioned in the throwaway were not even available at Auchan. On the day of the issuance the prices of some goods at Auchan differed from those mentioned in the throwaway. Sometimes goods were incomparable.

At the beginning of its activity on the Hungarian market Tesco introduced the trademark "Tesco goods": goods under this trademark were cheaper than the similar goods, because of their cheap package, but their quality did not differed significantly. Tesco promised to cover the difference if someone can buy such goods cheaper than the respective Tesco goods. Later it changed its marketing and simply stated that Tesco goods are the cheapest on the market.

Tesco stated that the only objective of these advertisements was to demonstrate its low price level.

March v, 2001. Budapest

dr. Kállai Mária sk. előadó
dr. Bodócsi András sk.
Vérné dr. Labát Éva sk.
Ágoston Marika