Britain's competition watchdog has secured agreements from supermarket groups Sainsbury's and Asda to cease using unlawful land agreements after it uncovered 32 anti-competitive deals, it said on Tuesday.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said both grocers had breached legislation which was introduced to stop supermarkets imposing new restrictions that prevent rivals from opening competing stores nearby.
It said Sainsbury's breached the legislation 18 times between 2011 and 2019, while Asda breached it 14 times between 2011 and 2019.
'Shoppers Have More Choice'
'By ensuring supermarkets compete freely, the CMA is ensuring that shoppers have more choice and so benefit from a wider range of groceries and access to cheaper prices – which is even more important as the cost of living rises,' the watchdog said.
It said Sainsbury's had agreed to remove the outstanding restrictions identified in its land agreements to become compliant with the legislation, while the restrictions identified in Asda's deals have been removed.
Action has also been agreed to prevent further breaches.
Last month, Asda announced plans to acquire petrol station operator EG Group's UK and Ireland business to create a company with combined revenues of nearly £30 billion (€34.62 billion).
In April, Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest supermarket group, reported an expected 5% fall in annual profit as inflation hit both it and customers but forecast a better than expected performance this year.
For the 2023-24 year it forecast profit between £640 million (€722 million) and £700 million (€789 million), ahead of analysts' average forecast of £631 million (€712 million)