Sainsbury's-Asda Merger Process Was 'Unsettling', Union Says

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Sainsbury's-Asda Merger Process Was 'Unsettling', Union Says

The national officer of the UK and Ireland's largest trade union, Unite, has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority's decision to block the merger between Sainsbury's and Asda.

Bev Clarkson said that both the merger, and the possibility of store closures and job losses resulting from it, had been "unsettling".

Clarkson added that the process caused "great uncertainty at a time when the supermarket has imposed changes to contracts that have left many workers out of pocket".

She said that Sainsbury's workers will "welcome" the news that the merger is now off and called on senior management at the retailer to "give them certainty so they can concentrate on serving customers".

Farmers Welcome Move

Elsewhere, the National Farmers Union (NFU) also welcome the move, saying that its key concern about the merger was about the "potential impact it could have on our members, with the possibility for abusive market power, as well as the impact on consumer choice and the quality of products coming to the market," commented NFU director general Terry Jones.


“It is clear from the CMA’s findings that they recognise the impact further consolidation could have on the supply chain, and ultimately shoppers," Jones added.

“In light of this decision, we will be seeking a meeting with both Sainsbury’s and Asda to fully understand what this decision will mean moving forward.”

The UK's Food and Drink Federation, which represents food and beverage manufacturers, also welcomed the move, with FDF chief operating officer Tim Rycroft saying the CMA's decision was the "only logical outcome. This proposed merger was a bad deal for consumers and for food and drink manufacturers.

"Given the evidence provided by FDF members (and others) of substantial competition harms, it is hard to see how the CMA could have come to any other decision. We are pleased that the concerns of food and drink manufacturers have been heard and acted upon.”


Walmart Position

Commenting on the collapse of the merger last week, Judith McKenna, CEO of Walmart International, the parent company of Asda, said that the group was "disappointed by the CMA’s final report and conclusions", adding that the group's "focus now is continuing to position Asda as a strong UK retailer delivering for customers. Walmart will ensure Asda has the resources it needs to achieve that.

“We have been clear from the beginning of the proposed merger about two things. Firstly, that retail is rapidly changing and standing still is not an option, and secondly that we will always ensure our international markets are strong local businesses powered by Walmart."

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

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