Federal Trade Commission Orders California Retailers to Provide Internal Documents Amid Walls of Empty Shelves

Sharee B.

California may usually be known for its flashy lights, Red Carpet galas, or scenic mountain views. However, today the state that's home to the City of Angels is in the news for a different reason.

Product shortages have long been an issue this year as ports have faced massive backlogs, employee downturns, and trapped shipping vessels. For some retailers, who provide basic essentials such as meats, dairy products, and toiletries, the ongoing lack of items has caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission.

"Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips, and medicines to meet and lumber." - Lina Khan, FTC Chairperson

The orders, which require several major retailers to turn over a full list of records including inventory and invoices, are a part of an investigation launched as of Monday afternoon.

The following stores are required to participate but the list continues to grow by the day:

  • Kroger
  • Target
  • Kraft Heinz Co
  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc
  • Tyson Foods

The focus of the investigation is to determine whether the shortages are indeed the cause of issues like anti-competitive tactics or gross overpricing of consumers. Recently, the President has also shown concern over the prolonged bottleneck issues as the end of the year is near. He has recently been in individual talks with CEOs and store management, in efforts to combat unfair pricing and assuage buyers inconvenienced by port delays.

As for now the retailers are in a window of compliance and are expected to turn over all requested documents, records, and reports before the 45-day deadline expires.

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