Robinson-Patman Act

The Lempert Report
February 17, 2022

Phil : New controversy coming outta Washington about the Robinson Patman act. Now when I was growing up in the industry, everybody pointed to the Robinson Patman act as being, you know, what our industry needed, to prevent, problems with one retailer getting a deal, but getting a better deal than the other retailer. But it looks like in the past probably 30 years nobody's really reinforced anything what's going on there. 

Sally: Yes, Phil, the, this, this act, as you said, was signed into law in 1936 by president Franklin Roosevelt, but it's, but it's not really been enforced since around 1970. And it was a tool to, to help target, buying power, to keep, to keep competition fair in between the bigger retailers and the smaller retailers. If the bigger retailer can get a better price from suppliers, then the smaller retailer has less of a chance of being able to, to compete. So I think now is that some people are looking at this right now and thinking, is this what we need right now to sort of balance the playing field out there right now, because we've got large retailers like Amazon and Walmart that, probably have a lot more power when it comes to getting better prices from suppliers. 

Phil : And the reality is during the pandemic, what we found is a lot of those independent grocers did far better of a job of keeping their supplies on shelf, dealing with customers in a, in a better way. So, you know, I, for one wish that we'd have, you know, some, some more, behind this and really help out those independent and smaller grocers. And by the way, when I'm talking about smaller groceries, I'm talking about grocers that have 200 stores, 300 stores down to the one store operator, to be able to compete with the likes as you pointed out of Amazon and Walmart.