Vision Express’ acquisition of Tesco’s opticians business has been flagged by competition watchdogs as one that could “lead to a worse deal for some customers.”
The eyecare specialist has been warned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that its proposed acquisition of Tesco’s opticians division could decrease competition for shoppers in three local areas.
Vision Express snapped up the grocer’s optician chain in April as the supermarket sought to “simplify its business”.
The acquisition has resulted in the CMA investigating over 200 areas where Vision Express and Tesco Opticians both have stores.
As part of this initial investigation the CMA has 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.”
The optician’s chain now has the opportunity to address the CMA’s concerns – however, if it does not or the changes made do not placate its concerns, the CMA could kick-off a more in-depth investigation.
CMA senior director Adam Land said: “Opticians provide a vital service for millions of people in the UK and it is therefore important that any competition concerns are addressed.
“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.”