AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced a $34 million national settlement with New York shoe manufacturer Nine West Group Inc., resolving allegations of price-fixing. Cornyn joined 50 attorneys general, as well as the corporation counsel for the District of Columbia and the attorneys general for five American Territories, in the national settlement filed today in U.S. District Court in New York. Texas will receive approximately $2.2 million from the settlement.
The states alleged that Nine West Group, based in White Plains, NY, entered into illegal agreements with shoe retailers to fix the retail price of women's shoes between January 1988 and July 1999. The attorneys general uncovered evidence that various Nine West divisions, including Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, and Nine West, had entered into agreements with retail stores to fix, raise, or maintain the retail prices of women's shoes manufactured by the Nine West Group. Price-fixing is illegal under both federal and state antitrust laws.
The lawsuit claimed that Nine West's illegal price-fixing included occasions when the manufacturer distributed lists of shoes that could not be discounted by retailers outside of time periods dictated by Nine West. Nine West explained to many of its retailers that the purpose of the pricing policies was to protect them from competition. In order to enforce these illegal pricing policies, Nine West allegedly granted discounts to cooperating retailers and withheld discounts or threatened to cancel or refuse to take orders from companies that did not comply.
As a result of the alleged illegal pricing agreements, state and federal authorities allege that consumers were denied an open and competitive market for certain Nine West shoes, and therefore paid higher prices for these shoes.
Under the terms of the settlement, Nine West Group has agreed:
- 30 -