MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Walmart Canada Corp. says it’s cutting Weston Foods as a bread supplier, but the retailer says the decision has nothing to do with the Competition Bureau’s investigation into price-fixing.
In an email statement, a spokesperson for Walmart says the company is reducing its number of bread suppliers for commercial reasons.
The decision comes months after George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw Companies Ltd. admitted their participation in what they said was an industry-wide scheme to co-ordinate the price of bread in Canada.
They brought the information to the Competition Bureau in December in exchange for immunity from criminal proceedings.
That sparked the watchdog’s ongoing investigation into an alleged cartel composed of the two informants, as well as Walmart, Canada Bread Company Ltd., Sobeys Inc., Metro Inc. and Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.
Walmart has declined to comment on the bureau’s investigation, while the others have denied contravening the Competition Act.
“We’ve informed Weston Bakeries of our decision to reduce the number of suppliers for the commercial bread area,” Anika Malik, Walmart Canada’s director of corporate affairs said in an email Friday.
“This decision was motivated by commercial reasons, not the Competition Bureau investigation. We continue to strive to provide our customers with the best value and service for all products.”