CMA puts JD's Footasylum takeover on hold
The Competition and Market Authority is undertaking an in-depth investigation to consider whether the deal might result in “a substantial lessening of competition” in the UK market.
Bury-based JD Sports Fashion is the leading trainer and sports fashion retailer in the UK, with more than 500 UK JD stores. The group also owns several footwear retail chains including Size, Footpatrol, Finish Line, Sprinter, Sport Zone and Chausport, as well as clothing and shoe brands such as Scotts, Mainline and Tessuti.
The group believes that, compared to its own brands, Footasylum caters for a slightly older consumer. Just as successful, albeit at a smaller scale, Footasylum has 70 stores in the UK and annual revenues of nearly £200 million.
But the Competition and Market Authority is concerned that the deal could damage competition in the UK fashion and footwear sector, and warned that it could lead to higher prices for consumers.
Last month, JD Sports responded to the watchdog’s probe, with chairman Peter Cowgill saying he “strongly disagrees” with the CMA’s concerns.
“This transaction will not result in any price increases or a reduction in product ranges or service quality,” he said. “The focus of all of our group businesses is to ensure we deliver a best in class, multichannel experience to our consumers by offering a compelling product proposition.”
The CMA is expected to announce its findings in March 2020.
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