The case of Azizian v. Federated Department Stores was brought six years ago by plaintiffs who alleged that nine cosmetics manufacturers and eight department stores had conspired to fix the prices of cosmetics products in the United States.
The defendants, who it was claimed had never offered products for less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price between May 1994 and July 2003, have denied any illegal conduct or wrongdoing but agreed to a settlement last July.
Only fragrance, cosmetics and beauty products sold primarily through department or speciality stores are affected. The settlement does not include products sold through mass distribution channels, such as drugstores and warehouse outlets.
Under the terms of the settlement, which is expected to be approved in the hearing next month, the defendants would give away to consumers millions of dollars worth of cosmetics and fragrances.
Defendants include cosmetics companies Estee Lauder, which owns 18 brands such as Clinique, Prescriptives and Aveda, and L'Oreal.