Sainsbury’s and Asda “strongly disagree” with the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) provisional findings into their proposed merger, and vowed to deliver £1bn of lower prices to consumers if the watchdog approves the deal.
Both supermarket groups claim that the CMA’s provisional findings contain significant errors, and have encouraged the CMA to recognise that there is a clear benefit to consumers from combining the two companies.
Sainsbury’s and Asda both have committed to deliver £1bn of lower prices annually by the third year post-completion, in an attempt to reduce prices by around 10% on everyday items, while Sainsbury’s has committed to cap its fuel gross profit margin to no more than 3.5 pence per litre for five years and Asda will guarantee its existing fuel pricing strategy.
Sainsbury’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, and Asda chief executive, Roger Burnley, said: “We are trying to bring our businesses together so that we can help millions of customers make significant savings on their shopping and their fuel costs, two of their biggest regular outgoings.
“We are committing to reducing prices by £1 billion per year by the third year which would reduce prices by around 10% on everyday items. We are happy to be held to account for delivering on this commitment and to have our performance independently reviewed and to publish this annually.
“We hope that the CMA will properly take account of the evidence we have presented and correct its errors. We have proposed a reasonable yet conservative remedy package and hope the CMA considers this so that we can deliver the cost savings for customers.”
The CMA is expected to publish Sainsbury’s and Asda’s responses to the provisional findings and Notice of Possible Remedies in due course, and its final report is expected by 30 April.