Suppliers, consumer groups and rival retailers have claimed a merged Sainsbury’s and Asda would be harmful to the grocery market.
Responding to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) investigation into the Asda-Sainsbury’s deal, the organisations expressed concerns the merger will create a duopoly in the grocery retail sector.
Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose were all critical of the merger, with the latter stating it would change the structure of grocery retailing and “drive pricing and marketing activity that the smaller players simply cannot compete with”.
The Food and Drink Federation said even before they merge, the two retailers already create “a climate of fear” due to their vast buying power.
Sainsbury’s and Asda claim these concerns were unfounded as they would “continue to face intense competition” preventing them manipulating the market.
The merging parties also said discounters should be included in the CMA’s market share analysis, a move that would make them appear less able to abuse a dominant market position.
However, an anonymous supplier said discounters are “not comparable” and “irrelevant” when calculating competition and market share.
Read more: Sainsbury's-Asda to face in-depth CMA investigation