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Ashley calls for JD Sports watchdog probe 'correction'

Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley has claimed the UK’s competition watchdog published “incorrect estimates” of its market share data in the investigation into JD Sports’s £90m acquisition of Footasylum. 

Sports Direct said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s decision to refer the completed acquisition to a phase two investigation, published on 24 October, acknowledged that Sports Direct has a “differentiated product offering” from JD Sports and Footasylum and has experienced a “lack of access to SMUs/exclusive and/or high-end/premium products”.

However, Sports Direct claimed the CMA has overestimated Sports Direct’s share of the supply of “sports-inspired casual apparel and also footwear”, both on an in-store and online basis. Sports Direct said the CMA “wrongly suggests” that it would have a comparable share of supply to the merged retailers. 

A statement from the retailer said: ”Sports Direct disagrees with these estimates as they substantially overstate its presence on each of the markets which are the subject of the CMA’s investigation.  Sports Direct does not have a meaningful, if any, presence in these markets for the reasons articulated by the CMA in the decision.”

It has now called for the market share percentages to be corrected during the course of the CMA’s phase two investigation.

Mike Ashley, CEO of Sport Direct, commented: “I have been watching this from the side lines to date and now having had the opportunity of considering the CMA decision, I would now welcome the opportunity to  provide the CMA with the correct market data. For example, our market share of Adidas Originals in Sports Direct is virtually zero.” 

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