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OFT price investigation covers 100 household brands

LONDON - The Office of Fair Trading's investigation into possible price fixing of food and toiletries products at supermarkets is focusing on around 100 leading brands including Coca-Cola, PG Tips and Warburtons bread.

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The latest development in the investigation, which involved raids on the big four supermarkets -- Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons -- on Thursday, has been reported by The Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper claims the OFT's investigators are working from a list of brands owned by suppliers including Coca-Cola, GlaxoSmithKline and Kimberly-Clark. It has already reported that the OFT visited Procter & Gamble's offices on Thursday and has requested information from Unilever.

The brands on the list also include Andrex toilet paper, owned by Kimberly-Clark and Aquafresh toothpaste, owned by GlaxoSmithKline.

It is believed that some suppliers on the list have yet to be contacted by the OFT, which is giving suppliers and retailers until June to provide the pricing information it has requested.

All of the supermarkets and food manufacturers affected have "vehemently denied any wrongdoing", according to the newspaper.

The OFT is also currently investigating the possible price fixing of tobacco products. Tobacco manufacturers Imperial Tobacco and Gallaher and 11 retailers are involved: Asda; the Co-operative Group; First Quench; Morrisons; Safeway; Sainsbury; Shell; Somerfield; T&S Stores; Tesco; and TM Retail.

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