A TIE-UP between Asda and Sainsbury’s has been blocked at the final hurdle amid fears it will push up prices for shoppers.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warns that a merger would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at hundreds of petrol stations across the UK.
In its final report, published today, the CMA also found that the joining of the two supermarkets would result in reductions in the quality and range of products available and lead to fewer online delivery options, creating a poorer overall shopping experience.
A reduction in competition would affect shoppers across the country, according to the CMA – and not just those in areas where Sainsbury’s and Asda stores overlap.
Even competition from the likes of Aldi and Lidl and online disruptions, such as Amazon, wasn’t considered enough to allow the merger to go ahead.
Stuart McIntosh, chair of the inquiry group, said: “It’s our responsibility to protect the millions of people who shop at Sainsbury’s and Asda every week.
“Following our in-depth investigation, we have found this deal would lead to increased prices, reduced quality and choice of products, or a poorer shopping experience for all of their UK shoppers.
“We have concluded that there is no effective way of addressing our concerns, other than to block the merger.”
The Sun has contacted both Asda and Sainsbury’s and we’ll update this story if we get a response.
More to follow…
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