OFT’s provisional decision to shut probe into anti-competitive conduct welcomed by Sports Direct

Sports Direct has welcomed the Office of Fair Trading’s provisional decision to close its investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct in the sports retail sector.

The OFT expects to reach a final decision later this year.

“It is in line with Sports Direct’s long held views on the investigation,” says chairman Keith Hellawell.

“It is also consistent with previous decisions taken by other regulatory bodies.”

The investigation follows an approach made by JJB on January 30, 2009 for immunity in accordance with the OFT’s leniency programme in relation to what the retailer describes as a “a suspected agreement or concerted practice to dampen competition in the sports retail market in the period from June 8, 2007 to March 25, 2009”, the period in which former chief executive, Chris Ronnie, was employed by the company.

As the leniency applicant, JJB said it has been cooperating fully with the OFT throughout its investigation, and will continue to do so.

The retailer went onto say that it is not in a position to comment on the reasons behind the OFT’s provisional decision.

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