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Nov 29, 2017

HBC withholding info in deceptive-pricing probe: Competition Commissioner

The Bay Hudson's Bay Company HBC

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TORONTO - The Commissioner of Competition says Hudson's Bay Co. (HBC.TO) is possibly witholding tens of thousands of documents in a case of alleged deceptive pricing practices. But the department store chain says the commissioner's request is irrelevant and too broad.

The commissioner filed a request to The Competition Tribunal to require HBC to produce documents related to its pricing practices of mattress and box spring sets, as well as other products from February 2015 until now.

The request asks the tribunal to strike HBC's response from the record should it fail to produce the documents within 10 days.

HBC responded by asking the tribunal to dismiss the commissioner's motion on the basis that the documents from the timeframe are not relevant and the request for that many documents within 10 days is too broad, unreasonable and unrealistic.

HBC says it would be a considerable burden to comply and the company has already spent more than US$425,000 to gather 37,000 documents from different dates for the commissioner.

In February, the Competition Bureau accused the department store chain of misleading consumers over sleep set prices since at least March 2013 -- a claim HBC disputes. The proceedings are ongoing.