Store closure and job loss concern over plans to merge supermarket giants Sainsbury's and Asda

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The shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has expressed serious concerns that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda is making recommendations in relation to competition without considering the impact on jobs.

Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “The initial recommendations of the CMA include the possibility of ordering Sainsbury’s and Asda to sell 463 stores in the name of market competition. This would put tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

If a merged Sainsbury’s/Asda business was forced to get rid of these stores, many of these shops could fail to find new buyers and could close. Local communities could lose one of their local supermarkets and end up with a boarded-up shop.”

Usdaw believes that the CMA is working to an outdated idea of competition in the modern retail sector.

Paddy Lillis went on to say: “The CMA does not see Lidl or Aldi as competitive rivals to supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Asda. This is a mistake. Sainsbury’s and Asda are considering a merger partly to compete more effectively with the discounters.

“The proposed merger is also a response to competition from online sales. But the CMA does not see online retailers and supermarkets as competitors for the same customers. This online/high street competition is the reality of retail in the 21st Century.

“Usdaw is calling for the CMA to fundamentally reconsider its initial conclusions. We are also calling for the remit of the investigation to be broadened so that the concerns of the workforce are listened to and the impact on jobs fully considered.”

Usdaw has formally written to the CMA as part of the official competition investigation into the proposed Sainsbury’s/Asda merger. The latest stage of the investigation closed on 30 October.