PROFECO Versus Walmart and Bodega AurreráBy Daniel González | Fri, 04/24/2020 - 16:02
Last Tuesday, President López Obrador announced that the Mexican government will make public the names of those “non-essential” companies that are forcing their personnel to go to work. This calling-out measure, criticized by several business sectors (because unlike other countries, Mexico has not made confinement mandatory), is now mimicked by PROFECO. The public institution has launched an investigation to clarify what it considers an unjustified price increase for commodities in 23 establishments, including Walmart and Bodega Aurrerá, two major supermarket chains operating in the country, in addition to Tienda Neto and Súper Regalo de Dios.
PROFECO has found unjustified price increases in tortillas, rice, eggs, beans and oil, in addition to antibacterial gel and face masks. The investigation is being carried out at stores in Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatán and Zacatecas.
According to El Financiero, PROFECO’s investigation follows 274 complaints between April 1 and 19. Of these complaints, 23.7 percent corresponded to Walmart and 23.3 percent to Bodega Aurrerá. PROFECO also issued warnings to producers and distributors of basic products like Bayer, Bachoco, Huevo San Juan, Danone, Farmacias Guadalajara, Maseca, Jumex, Avícola y Piscícola de los Altos, among others.
In response to this controversy , Walmart sent a statement to the media trying to reassure its customers. “For the most part, these are administrative processes that have already been closed. We have worked closely with authorities, to whom we have explained that these cases have occurred because of ending promotions, the exchange rate or disruptions in the supply chain,” Walmart said. In addition, the US company announced that it has launched a program directed at families with fewer resources. “In ‘Los Esenciales’ program, we are committed to keeping the prices of more than 125 commodities unchanged for 60 days. At Walmart we are convinced that only together we will manage to get through these difficult times, so we work with a firm commitment to always continue offering low prices,” Walmart said in the same statement.
PROFECO also suspended sales at 223 other establishments and initiated procedures against these small businesses.