Torquay, Lancaster, Paignton, Kirkcaldy, and Brighton possibly will become “monopoly” cities of Sainsbury’s as the projected union with Asda advances, calling on MPs to demand action to guard local communities.
The anticipated merger of the two supermarket chains will permit little or no competition in supermarkets in the cities, which would open up the prospect of a local monopoly and a pain for the authorities, who could call a sell-off but will have no buyers.
It is expected that the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) will scrutinize Sainsbury’s proposed £7.3 Billion acquisition of Asda, under which the US parent company, Walmart, will become a major shareholder of the combined group.
MPs expressed concern that shops could be closed, local jobs will get threatened, or that communities would face price increases if all nearby supermarkets came under corporate control.
“Just look how close the Asda and Sainsbury’s are in Paignton and Torquay,” said the local MP, Kevin Foster. “There are concerns about how long a unified company wants to do two deals, which also affects the buying decision; it looks like there are simply five large supermarkets in Torquay in Paignton, and out of them, four belong to one company, which will be combined.”
Asda and Sainsbury’s also lead in Asda. A member of Fleetwood and Lancaster, Cat Smith, said, “If there is such a monopoly on Sainsbury’s and Asda, then there will be a limited choice and smaller players such as Booths will fight it, given that Booths is a Blackpool-based Lancashire company with headquarters based in Preston, which seems to be a concern.”
Foster stated that the issue should be cautiously considered. “I accept that the market has varied, especially with the expansion of online commerce, but it has not changed fundamentally, a huge volume of people still go out each week and make a huge shopping,” he said.
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