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Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe said the regulator was ‘effectively taking £1bn out of customers’ pockets’, but added that the supermarket would not appeal against the decision. “The CMA’s conclusion that we would increase prices post-merger ignores the dynamic and highly competitive nature of the UK grocery market,” he said.
The deal would have created the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, accounting for £1 in every £3 spent on groceries. Sainsbury’s and Asda had said it would have cut their costs, allowing them to lower prices for consumers across the UK. But the CMA, which had previously raised concerns about the deal, said the merger would lessen competition at both a national and local level.
Stuart McIntosh, chair of the CMA’s inquiry group, said in a statement: “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.”