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Boxed Out: How Predatory Buying Is Killing Off Small Businesses

Powerful retailers are killing off small businesses by dominating supply chains.

Our new report explains that it’s time to revive the Robinson-Patman Act and restore antitrust enforcement against predatory buying.

Walmart, Amazon, and other powerful, well-financed companies have captured control over much of retailing. These giants maintain their extraordinary market position not by competing on the merits of their service. Instead, they exert their power as dominant buyers of food and goods to bully suppliers, extracting discounts for themselves while forcing independent retailers to pay more. This is threatening those small businesses, wounding competition, and hollowing out communities large and small. It’s a monopoly tactic we call “predatory buying.”

In this report, we examine the history of these abuses, the law Congress passed in 1936 to protect independent businesses’ right to compete on fair terms, and the pro-bigness coup that stopped enforcement of the law in the 1970s. Next, we explore how the refusal to stop predatory buying has allowed big businesses to shut out their smaller rivals and the harm this has inflicted on communities and the economy. Finally, we show how regulators and Congress can step in to kickstart enforcement of the law and strengthen it to protect the liberty of independent businesses and the diverse communities they serve.

Read the report here.

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