THE FEDERAL Trade Commission (FTC) ruled in 1998 that toy retailer Toys “R” Us had, in the late 1980s and 1990s, engaged in an illegal boycott of warehouse clubs by indicating that it would not do business with toy makers who also did business with the clubs, thereby coercing manufacturers to institute a boycott of the warehouse clubs. Toys “R” Us was the major toy retailer, controlling more than 40 percent of the market. Both the threat to withhold business from the manufacturers and the attempt to force other toy suppliers to boycott the warehouse clubs were illegal boycotts under antitrust law.

The term boycott is named for Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott, whose ruthless evictions of tenants in Ireland in 1880 provoked his employees so much ...

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