Hopes that the PC pricing debate in the UK would be reopened following complaints against Dixons at the weekend have been dashed by a government body.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said details filed in a complaint from John Lewis concerning two exclusive PC selling deals Dixons has allegedly struck do not appear to infringe the new Competition Act, which came into effect on 1 March.
Department store chain John Lewis had earlier appealed to the OFT to investigate Dixons following allegations of exclusive distribution deals with Compaq and Packard Bell.
John Lewis said the deals are restricting consumers choice, leading to higher prices and poorer service for consumers. It threatened to sue Dixons and called for the government to investigate Dixons for anti-competitive behaviour.
The department store chain has gathered support from electrical retailers Comet and Tempo and Labour MP Nick Palmer on the matter.
Palmer is expected to appeal to the House of Commons tomorrow to reopen the PC pricing debate and has tabled two parliamentary questions attacking the exclusive deals.
The OFT said: "We are seeking further information from John Lewis on its complaint." The body added that vertical agreements between manufacturers and retailers are excluded from the prohibition on restrictive agreements in the new act.
"However, the Director General of Fair Trading can claw back this exclusion where he considers the agreement would be anti-competitive," said the OFT.
The statement also said an OFT investigation conducted last year into UK PC retailing came to the conclusion that it is competitive and consumers can buy PCs at a wide range of prices.
In addition, it said: "Dixon's market share of the whole retail market does not make it a dominant player."
IDC analyst Andy Brown said: "Despite what Stephen Byers said last year, the UK is not as competitive as other countries in Europe such as France and Germany; UK consumers do not have as much choice. Dixons does have a very strong position in the UK electronics retail market and is fairly unopposed in most markets."
Molybdenum ditelluride is a two-dimensional material that can be easily stacked into multiple layers to create a memory cell
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime
The observations were made using the Atacama Array in the Chilean desert