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JD Sports may have to sell Footasylum amid competition concerns

JD Sports may still have to sell Footasylum as watchdog warns shoppers could suffer


JD Sports may be forced to sell Footasylum after the competition watchdog said a merger of the two firms could lead to a worse deal for shoppers.

The FTSE 100 sports-fashion retailer agreed to buy rival Footasylum for £90million in March 2019.

The Competition and Markets Authority initially blocked the deal last year before it was forced to reassess its decision following an appeal. 

Competition concerns: The Competition and Markets Authority blocked the sale of Footasylum to JD Sports last year before it was forced to reassess its decision following an appeal

But the CMA yesterday said that blocking the deal, and forcing JD Sports to sell Foot- asylum and its 64 sites, may be ‘the only way of addressing’ its competition concerns.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said he was ‘perplexed and again disappointed’ by the decision.

The CMA said it believes a merger between the retailers could see customers facing ‘higher prices, fewer discounts and less choice of products in store’ due to reduced competition.

It added that there were fears the move could also result in the group ‘investing less in improvements to customer service’.

Kip Meek, chairman of the CMA’s group conducting the takeover inquiry, said: ‘This deal would see Footasylum bought by its closest competitor and, as a result, shoppers could face higher prices, less choice and a worse shopping experience overall.’

JD Sports said the takeover would allow it to invest in Foot- asylum and develop its products.

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