Asda and Sainsbury’s may have to sell at least 73 supermarkets if their proposed merger goes ahead, according to new research.
If plans move forward, the new supermarket group would become the largest in the UK by market share.
Maximise UK, a firm that specialises in identifying the best locations for stores, says around six per cent of the new Sainsbury’s-Asda entity’s supermarkets would be at risk.
The areas where stores would be most under threat are the south-east and the north-west of England.
The research revealed 17 stores in the south-east could close and 13 in the north-west.
In the south-west, 11 stores could face closure, 9 in Yorkshire, 8 in the west-midlands, five in the north, three in the east midlands, three in Scotland, two in East Anglia and two in Wales.
The supermarkets announced they were in talks about the £15billion merger at the end of April.
So will your local Asda and Sainsbury’s stores be affected?
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We do not plan to close any Sainsbury’s or Asda stores as a result of the combination.”
Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe also confirmed at the time of the announcement the real would not result in any job cuts or store closures.
The merger is facing scrutiny by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) who have said the deal is “likely to be subject to review” and that it would assess whether it could reduce competition and choice for shoppers.
Mr Haywood told the BBC: “There hasn’t been a retail deal like this in more than a decade.
“The real focus will be on how Sainsbury’s and Asda’s main supermarkets operate at a local level and how they overlap.
“The CMA will be concerned about whether the deal reduces the number of competing brands within a 10 or 15 minute drive time.”
Sainsbury’s took over Habitat and Argos in 2016 for a massive £1.4billion.
Tesco, meanwhile, merged with Booker, the UK’s largest wholefoods retailer in 2017.
The traditional high street has come under increasing pressure in recent years, with the growth in online retailers.
Sainsbury’s and Asda have also been squeezed by the rise of lower-cost supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, who between them have a 12.6 percent grocery market share in the UK.
The Asda and Sainsbury’s could spark a supermarket price war.