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The end of the ad rule.

The FTC is getting ready to have another look at one rule that might have caused some supermarket headaches during the past 13 years. A recent staff report has suggested that the commission drop its rule requiring grocers to have in stock any advertised items.

An FTC spokesman says the recommendations came after a study of the rule's effectiveness. That study suggested that the cost of complying with the rule, passed in May 1971, may outweigh the benefits consumers receive from it. The staff report says consumers do not appear to be concerned with the situation.

Lewis Frank, a staff attorney with the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, says the rule appears to be "costing business and costing consumers." Supermarkets, he says, have been forced into larger than wished for inventories to prevent shortages of sale items and the cost of those inventories are passed onto consumers in the long run. Since cunsumers haven't shown any great attachment to the law, he says, the FTC has decided to re-examine it.

The review of the law was first requested by the Senate Commerce Committee, not the grocery industry. Wenning of the NGA says there were no grumblings from his group about the requirement. "The rule requires (grocers) to do what they would under normal advertising practices."

Frank says the FTC is encouraging comments on the staff recommendation through the middle of February.

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Title Annotation:FTC may not require having advertised goods in stock
Author:Sansolo, Michael
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Date:Feb 1, 1985
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