French fraud authorities on Thursday accused supermarket chain Intermarche of illegally selling Nutella below cost, after heavy discounts sparked a shopping frenzy that made international headlines.
The DGCCRF fraud watchdog said it was filing a legal case against the supermarket, which could face a maximum fine of 375,000 euros ($461,000).
Videos of French shoppers jostling as they tried to grab cut-price tubs of the chocolate spread in Intermarche stores went viral on the internet last month.
"Our agents have concluded that Intermarche did not respect measures in place concerning selling at a loss, which is a criminal offense," a DGCCRF spokeswoman told AFP.
The agency said its investigation found Intermarche had sold four products marked down 70 percent, including Nutella, at a loss, a tactic used to draw shoppers in to spend on other products.
The other products were Pampers nappies, Carte Noire cafe and Perrier sparkling water.
Intermarche has apologized after its three-day promotion prompted shoving and even full-blown fights in several stores over the Nutella, with one worker likening the scenes to "an orgy."
The supermarket had slashed the price of a 950-gram (2-pound) pot of Nutella -- a favored breakfast spread in France -- from 4.50 euros ($5.60) to 1.41 euros.
Videos of the shopping frenzy were shared thousands of times on social media, with comedian Anthony Joubert racking up a million plays on a song featuring the lyrics, "A euro for Nutella, I'd kill a mother or father for that."
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