Appeal by JD Sports Fashion plc and others (“the Appellants”) pursuant to section 114 of the Enterprise Act 2002 against a decision of the Competition and Markets Authority (the "CMA”) of 29 July 2020 (“the Decision”) to impose a penalty of £300,000 on the Appellants for failure to comply with an initial enforcement order.
In the context of JD Sports’ acquisition of Footasylum Limited (“Footasylum”), on 17 May 2019 the CMA made an initial enforcement order addressed to JD Sports and its majority shareholder, Pentland. On 24 October 2019 Footasylum served a break notice in relation to the lease on its Wolverhampton store.
The Appellants appeal against the Decision on the following grounds: (1) the Decision is unfair and contrary to the CMA’s own policy on penalties procedures; (2) the Decision is based on a fundamental factual error in relation to the steps taken by the Appellants to comply with the order; (3) there was no failure to comply with the order on the part of Footasylum; (4) further or alternatively, the CMA erred in its assessment as to whether there was a reasonable excuse for the alleged breach of the order; (5) there was no basis for addressing the Decision and/or penalty to Pentland Jersey; (6) there was no basis to impose a penalty on the Appellants; and (7) the amount of penalty was unjustified and disproportionate and should be reduced to nil or a nominal sum.
Case management directions were given by Order of the Chairman dated 18 September 2020.
On 13 October 2020 the Chairman made an Order granting the Appellants permission to withdraw their appeal.
On 5 July 2021 the Chairman issued a Ruling in connection with an application by the Second and Third Appellants for their costs of the appeal.