Venezuela seizes 4 million Christmas toys to distribute to poor

Venezuela’s consumer agency confiscates four million toys from a company it accuses of hoarding.

Officials accused the company of hoarding toys and hiking prices in the run-up to Christmas.

Last week, the government issued an order to retailers to reduce prices on a range of goods by 30%.

Business owners say the order is a populist political move, and pushing them towards bankruptcy.

Venezuela’s consumer protection agency, Sundde, said toy distributor Kreisel had stockpiled the goods and was reselling them at a margin of up to 50,000%.

“Our children are sacred, we will not let you rob them of Christmas,” it said in a tweet, along with photos and video of thousands of boxes of toys.

In total, 3,821,926 toys were seized from two warehouses, and would be sold at low prices, it said.

William Contreras, head of Sundde, said Kreisel had claimed the toys were old or discontinued. The agency also posted photos of the two executives being marched from the premises by a squad of heavily armed soldiers.

This is not the first time Venezuela has ordered price cuts on retailers, or mobilised armed units to enforce it.

In late 2013, the country introduced laws allowing the government to fix prices and dictate profit margins.

The same legislation limited profits to 30% – the amount often discounted in the compulsory “adjustments” enforced by Sundde at hundreds of retailers in the past week.

Source: Venezuela seizes Christmas toys to distribute to poor – BBC News