JD Sports must sell Footasylum after all, UK regulator says

FILE PHOTO: A JD Sports sign at one of the company's London stores

(Reuters) – Britain’s biggest sportswear retailer JD Sports must sell Footasylum, the UK antitrust regulator said on Thursday after it found the combination of the two sportswear chains could hurt competition and leave consumers with fewer choices.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had ordered JD in May to sell the business that it bought in 2019 but began reassessing the deal through an in-depth probe after the retailer appealed that decision.

“JD Sports is by far and away the closest alternative for shoppers at Footasylum,” the CMA said in a statement.

In response, JD Sports said the CMA’s decision “defies logic”, but added that it was studying the report in detail and would carefully consider its options.

JD Sports, which sells brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma in its physical and online stores, has argued the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased competition, as global brands expand their direct-to-consumer businesses.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)