Regulators have raised concerns over the proposed merger of supermarket giants Sainsbury and Asda questioning whether the deal will push prices and undermine choice for consumers,
The Competotion and Markets Commission has found that the proposed deal could lead to a worse experience for in-store and online shoppers across the UK through higher prices, a poorer shopping experience, and reductions in the range and quality of products offered.
It also has concerns that prices could rise at a large number of Sainsbury’s and Asda petrol stations.
The deal would create the biggest UK supermarket group, with a market share of more than 30%, overtaking the current market leader Tesco at 27.4%. The merged group and Tesco together would control about 60% of all groceries sold.
Stuart McIntosh, chair of the independent inquiry group carrying out the investigation, said:
“These are two of the biggest supermarkets in the UK, with millions of people purchasing their products and services every day. We have provisionally found that, should the two merge, shoppers could face higher prices, reduced quality and choice, and a poorer overall shopping experience across the UK. We also have concerns that prices could rise at a large number of their petrol stations.
These are our provisional findings, however, and the companies and others now have the opportunity to respond to the analysis we’ve set out today. It’s our responsibility to carry out a thorough assessment of the deal to make sure that the sector remains competitive and shoppers don’t lose out.”