Supermarket merger to create largest United Kingdom chain

The supermarkets employ about 342,000 people in more than 1,000 stores across the country

The supermarkets employ about 342,000 people in more than 1,000 stores across the countryCHRIS J RATCLIFFE GETTY IMAGES

The deal is yet to be rubber stamped by the Sainsbury's board, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has already announced plans to review the merger. The supermarkets said the union, which would result in a group with £51 billion (€58 billion) of sales, would cut costs for consumers.

Together, Sainsbury's and Asda have 2,800 stores.

Walmart's worldwide business accounted for below 25 percent of its overall revenue of $500.3 billion in 2018 financial year.

Mr Coupe said the merger would deliver at least £500million in cost savings, largely as a result of improved efficiency and better buying benefits.

Under the terms of transaction, Bentonville, Ark. -based Walmart would hold 42 percent of the share capital of the merged business.

The company will retain both the Sainsbury's and Asda brands and there are no plans to close any of its more than 2,800 stores, the companies said Monday.

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"It will create a business that is more dynamic, more adaptable, more resilient and an even bigger contributor to the United Kingdom economy".

That's the lesson for Mike Coupe after the chief executive officer of British grocer J Sainsbury was caught singing "We're in the Money", on camera as he prepared for a television interview.

"This is a transformational opportunity to create a new force in United Kingdom retail, which will be more competitive and give customers more of what they want", said Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe.

"General merchandise and clothing are both performing ahead of the market and, in response to great customer feedback and financial returns, we are opening Argos stores in our supermarkets faster than we originally planned".

Charles Newsome, division director at Investec Wealth and Investment, was quick to halt praise for the Asda Sainsbury's deal and claimed the agreement might not be the "right thing" for Sainsbury's.

Ms Bailey warned that, in the absence of proper vetting, it would be "British shoppers that suffer from rising prices and British workers that may be fearing for their jobs".

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"This merger risks squeezing what little competition there is in the groceries market even further and moves alarmingly close to the creation of a supermarket monopoly", said Rebecca Long-Bailey, the opposition Labour Party's shadow business secretary, in a statement.

Shares in Sainsbury's rocketed 20% at the market open as investors interpreted the deal as a boon for the firm.

Tesco shares retreated by 0.9 percent while there were gaines for Morrisons (1.3 percent), Marks & Spencer (0.4 percent) and online rival Ocado (1.9 percent).

Sainsbury's reported its full-year results yesterday, showing a first rise in profit in four years.

Asda, meanwhile, saw its fourth consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth in the three months to March 31.

The announcement also revealed that Asda's operating profit for 2017 had fallen by 15% to £720m, despite a recovery in sales, as it piled investment into keeping prices down.

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