In 1936, the Federal Trade Commission investigated chain stores in a detailed House study under Representative Wright Patman due to the successful lobbying efforts of private influential interest groups such as wholesale grocers and food brokers. This issue grew out of practices in which chain stores were allowed to purchase goods at lower prices than other retailers. As a result of this study, Representative Patman and Senator Robinson introduced the Robinson-Patman Act.
The Robinson-Patman Act is an amendment to the Clayton Act. The act is categorized in the regulatory enactments that attempt to control the price discrimination or different prices for identical products. The main goal of the Robinson-Patman Act was to protect the smaller, independent retailers and their suppliers from the large chain stores that were vertically integrated.
The Robinson-Patman Act is not limited to just price discrimination, but it expressly forbade price discrimination on the sale of goods to equally situated distributors when the effect is to reduce competition.