The French ‘Cour de Cassation’ has for the second time refused the decision of the Appeals court in a case that dates back to 2006, for actions that allegedly took place between 1997 and 2000.
According to the accusations made in 2006 by the French competition authorities, 13 luxury brands including Chanel, Christian Dior and Guerlain, and the retailers Marionnaud, LVMH-owned Sephora and Nocibé, were engaged in anti-competitive activity.
The authorities claimed that each of the brands had entered into an agreement with its distributors, ensuring that every product was retailed at a single price, eliminating any possibility of competition amongst retailers.
The biggest fines in 2006 went to the three distributors: Marionnaud, which was fined €12.8m; Sephora, which was fined €9.4m and Nocibé, which was fined €6.2m.
Amongst the fragrance brands, the biggest fine went to L’Oreal which was ordered to pay €4.2m, while Chanel and Christian Dior were ordered to pay €4.1m and €2.2m respectively, Yves Saint-Laurent €1.8m, Guerlain €1.7m and ELCO, which represents Clinique and Estee Lauder, €1.6m.
However, the companies have been fighting the case in the appeals court, which recently concluded it should be dropped as it had been open for an excessively long time.
Earlier this week, the Cour de Cassation refused this decision which leaves the companies bound once again to pay the treasury their allotted fines.
Representatives at L’Oreal or LVMH were not available for comment at the time of publication.