Competition concerns remain over JD Sports merger

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The CMA has provisionally found JD Sports’ takeover of Footasylum could lead to a worse deal for shoppers, after reassessing the merger.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has reached the provisional view that the merger could result in a worse deal for Footasylum shoppers throughout the UK. This means customers could find themselves facing higher prices, fewer discounts and less choice of products in store. It could also result in the merged company investing less in improvements to customer service.

At this stage, the CMA’s view is that blocking the deal, by requiring JD Sports to sell Footasylum, may be the only way of addressing these competition concerns.

Kip Meek, chair of the group conducting the inquiry, said, “Since our original inquiry, we have gathered a significant amount of additional evidence, including on the impact of coronavirus, and we still have concerns about JD Sports’ takeover of Footasylum. This deal would see Footasylum bought by its closest competitor and, as a result, shoppers could face higher prices, less choice and a worse shopping experience overall.

“While many stores were closed during lockdown, online sales in this market have been stronger than ever, and revenue from in-store sales is rebounding as people return to the high street.

“JD Sports, Footasylum and others in the sector now have the opportunity to give us their views, on both our provisional decision and our suggested remedy,” Meek added on September 2.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.