Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that Oregon will receive more than $350,000 as part of a $34 million settlement with New York shoe manufacturer Nine West Group, Inc. for allegedly entering into illegal agreements with shoe retailers to fix the price of women's shoes.
All 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia joined in a lawsuit and settlement filed this morning in U.S. District Court in New York.
"As a direct result of illegal price fixing agreements, Oregon women were denied the right of an open and competitive market for certain Nine West shoes, and therefore, paid higher prices," Myers said.
Working with the Federal Trade Commission, investigators for the attorneys general uncovered evidence that various Nine West divisions, including Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, and Nine West, had engaged in illegal vertical resale price maintenance, which is illegal under both state and federal antitrust laws. The investigation also found that Nine West prohibited retailers from discounting certain shoes between January 1988 and July 1999. Nine West Group was purchased in June, 1999 by Jones Apparel Group, Inc. of New York.
The lawsuit, which was dismissed as part of the settlement agreement, claimed that Nine West granted discounts to cooperating retailers and withheld discounts or threatened to cancel or refuse to take orders from companies that did not comply.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nine West for the next five years has agreed to refrain from controlling prices used by retailers to sell its products. Nine West also will notify each of its dealers and retailers of their right to independently determine the prices at which they sell Nine West products.
Attorney General Myers explained that Oregon's $350,000 share of the agreement will be used to fund women's health, educational, vocational and safety programs as yet to be determined. Investigative costs and attorneys fees of $5,000 also will be paid under the settlement.
Oregonians wanting information on consumer protection issues in their state may call the Attorney General's toll-free consumer hotline at 1-877-877-9392, (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only) or (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or by writing Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection, 1162 Court Street, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97310.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org