Asda, Sainsbury’s merger could push prices up as the two brands will need to sell of a significant number of stores, the competition watchdog as warned.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it will be “difficult for the companies to address the concerns it has identified.”
The watchdog’s phase 2 investigation said the merger could lead to reduced in store quality and online, it may lead to higher fuel costs as both retailers’ petrol stations will overlap.
Stuart McIntosh, chairman of the independent inquiry group carrying out the CMA 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.”
An Asda and Sainsbury’s spokesman said the provisional findings, “misunderstand how people shop in the UK today”.
“The CMA has moved the goalposts and its analysis is inconsistent with comparable cases.”