In a case expected to have reverberations throughout the retail industry, Fendi and Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Inc., have settled a dispute that claimed the U.S. warehouse club sold counterfeit handbags and leather goods in five states.
According to a report in Women’s Wear Daily, under the sealed agreement, Sam’s Club agreed to pay the Italian luxury firm a confidential amount to settle the dispute and dismiss the action, which had charged the retailer with selling “significant quantities” of counterfeit items valued “in the millions of dollars.” Sam’s Club is also offering its customers a full refund for any counterfeit Fendi bags, wallets, and scarves they purchased.
Over the past three years, Fendi has tripled its budget for anti-counterfeiting measures, WWD reports. “It’s pure and simple theft,” says Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Fendi. “Going forward, intellectual property is more and more the reason you’re buying something.”