MPs are demanding answers after it emerged that the potential £12bn merger between Leeds-based Asda and Sainsbury’s could result in the closure of around 75 stores, placing thousands of jobs at risk.
Shadow business secretary has warned Rebecca Long-Bailey said a “duopoly” of the big supermarkets would emerge, which she said could be at the expense of manufacturers, suppliers and farmers while both Leeds West MP Rachael Reeves and Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn demanded assurances from Government that Asda’s Leeds headquarters and its around 2,000 staff would be protected.
Bosses at both Asda and Leeds had both initially ruled out store closures but later conceded that competition watchdog the CMA could require them to dispose of stores in order to gain approval for the deal, something one analyst predicted could run to 75 stores.
Under the proposed merger both firms will retain their separate brands but operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Asda parent company Walmart who will have a 42 per cent stake in the business.
Asda chief executive Roger Burnley however remained adamant that there we no planned changes to the firm’s Asda House headquarters in Leeds.
However Ms Reeves said: “I think that people working at head office in Asda will be incredibly concerned about their future.”
Business minister Andrew Griffiths told MPs that he and Business Secretary Greg Clark were monitoring the deal closely.
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