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Adidas Japan investigated for alleged price-fixing of EasyTone footwear

Sports giant Adidas’ Japanese division is under investigation by the Fair Trade Commission in the country for allegedly coercing retailers in to not discounting Reebok’s EasyTone muscle-toning footwear.

According to local newspaper reports, an Adidas spokeswoman confirmed the raid on the offices but declined to elaborate.

Adidas Japan is reported to have pressured retailers to sell the muscle-toning footwear, which it has sold in Japan since 2009, for between 10,000 (£73.80) and 15,000 yen (£110.75). It allegedly suspended shipments of the footwear for stores that did not agree.

Today, Sports Direct made the unusual move of issuing a statement on the stock exchange distancing itself from any investigation in the country. The sportswear chain, which will release pre-close figures tomorrow, said that if any investigation were to hit UK shores it “would not face any risk of sanction”.

It said: “Sports Direct wishes to confirm that, since their launch in the UK in 2009 and to date, Adidas AG has not supplied Reebok EasyTone shoes to Sports Direct. Should the above issue arise in the UK, Sports Direct would not face any risk of sanction.”

Sports Direct has been embroiled in a number of investigations. Last month, the Serious Fraud Office dropped its investigation in to any individuals connected to the retailer. Meanwhile, The Office of Fair Trading is continuing to investigate the sports goods retail sector.

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