The practice of ‘slotting’ – where manufacturers effectively rent supermarket shelf space for the display or advertising of their products – came under attack yesterday from Senator Kit Bond (Republican, Missouri).

Bond, who chairs the senate’s Committee on Small Business, was reacting to the recent publication by the Federal Trade Commission of a report into slotting. This affects smaller companies, argued the senator, who demanded that the FTC put more vigor behind its investigation of the practice.

"The Commission's report signals a recognition of the harmful effects of questionable business practices to exclude small competitors from the marketplace. ... It gives short shrift to the widely held concern that big retailers, and the buying power they wield, may amount to an unfair advantage against small manufacturers and suppliers," said Bond, who fears that the FTC is dawdling over the matter.

He continued: “With so little reliable data on slotting practices available to the public, and no evidence to prove that consumers do not suffer from higher prices and few choices at the store, it is critically important that the FTC devote sufficient resources to thoroughly examine buying power as part of its study of slotting fees, which is now under way.”

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline