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Government rejects SPAR’s ‘false claims’ regarding measures to bring down inflation

The National Economy Ministry called communication by the Austrian owner of SPAR supermarkets in Hungary on government measures to bring down inflation "malicious" and "false" in a statement issued on Monday.

The ministry noted that government measures requiring big supermarket chains to comply with price caps on staples and offer regular discounts had helped reduce double-digit inflation to 3.7 percent in February, while revenue from a windfall profit tax on the retail sector had been channeled into a fund to keep household utilities prices down.

The ministry acknowledged that SPAR “disagreed” with those measures but said its behaviour ran “counter to the interests of Hungarian consumers”.

The ministry said SPAR’s “attacks” against the government were driven rather by the “loss-making position” of its local business which had “fallen behind the competition”.

“Instead of taking steps to boost its efficiency and competitiveness…[SPAR] is spreading baseless fake news,” it added.

“Only companies that comply with the law and take into consideration the interests of local consumers, by offering them products that are of good quality at good prices, can stay in Hungary,” the ministry said.

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