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Guess under investigation by the European Commission

The clothing manufacturer and retailer Guess is under investigation by the European Commission. The formal antitrust investigation into the distribution agreements and practices of Guess looks at whether the company illegally restricts retailers from selling cross-border to consumers within the EU Single Market.

The Commission will investigate information indicating that Guess’ distribution agreements may restrict authorised retailers from selling online to consumers or to retailers in the other Member States, according to a press release. They may also restrict wholesalers from selling to retailers in the other Member States, the European Commission says.

Guess’s agreements under investigation may be in breach of EU competition rules, which prohibit agreements between companies that prevent, restrict or distort competition within the EU’s Single Market.


“The Commission has information indicating that Guess, in its distribution agreements, may ban cross-border sales to consumers. One of the key benefits of the EU’s Single Market is that consumers can shop around for a better deal. We are going to investigate Guess’ practices further to ensure that it’s playing by the rules and not preventing consumers from buying products across borders,” Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, explained.

Companies are generally free to set up the distribution system that best serves them. However, these systems must comply with EU competition rules. In particular, consumers must be free to purchase from any retailer authorised by a manufacturer, including across national borders.

In February 2017, the Commission launched three separate investigations to assess if certain online sales practices prevent, in breach of EU antitrust rules, consumers from enjoying cross-border choice and being able to buy consumer electronics, video games and hotel accommodation at competitive prices.

Guess designs, distributes and licenses clothing and accessories. Guess’ apparel is marketed under numerous trademarks, including “GUESS?” and “MARCIANO”.

John Beckett