The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has warned that Vision Express‘ proposed acquisition of the Tesco Opticians chain could “lead to a worse deal for some customers”.
The CMA said a takeover deal could decrease competition for shoppers in three local areas.
Vision Express bought Tesco’s opticians business in April as part of the grocery giant’s turnaround strategy, which aims “simplify its business” as part of the retailer’s financial recovery.
As a result, the CMA investigated more than 200 areas where Vision Express and Tesco Opticians both have stores.
The country’s peak competition authority identified Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Helston in Cornwall, and Ryde on the Isle of Wight as areas where “Vision Express would not face sufficient competition after the merger”.
Vision Express has been given an opportunity to address CMA’s findings.
If does not or if changes are not made to address the concerns, the CMA could be prompted to undergo an in-depth investigation into the takeover.
“Opticians provide a vital service for millions of people in the UK and it is therefore important that any competition concerns are addressed,” CMA senior director Adam Land said.
“In this case, we have looked carefully where Vision Express and Tesco Opticians compete at present and identified three areas of the country where we believe this merger could result in a worse deal for eye care customers.”