Horizontal and vertical operational flexibilty

Certain types of agreements are indispensible to the functioning of groups of independent retailers. They have many pro-competitive effects, undoubtedly benefitting consumers.

Agreements can include information exchanges, purchasing agreements, agreements on commercialisation and standardisation agreements. These agreements are of a vertical nature, whereby the central organisation acts at a different economic level of the chain compared to the independent retailers. Meanwhile, on a horizontal level, independent retailers of the same group always remain competitors. Due to this dual structure, agreements between groups of independent retailers are subject to the vertical competition Regulation and guidelines but can, depending upon the views of national competition authorities, be subject to horizontal competition guidelines as well. Independent Retail Europe seeks to heighten competition and consumer benefit by creating an optimal playing field for its members, fully in line with the vertical and horizontal competition rules.

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