'Stores will close' if Asda and Sainsbury's merge

By Andy Hayes, News Reporter
Stores will close if Asda and Sainsbury's merge, a union has warned.
Sky News exclusively revealed on Saturday that Asda's owner, Wal-Mart, was in advanced talks with Sainsbury's about a shock €10bn tie-up that would create ‎a more powerful rival to Tesco, the current UK market leader.
Joe Clarke, national officer for Sainsbury's at the union Unite, told Sky News the potential deal was an "absolute shocker", with "implications for tens of thousands of jobs".Staff were in "utter disarray" and "absolutely shocked", he said, adding that Unite was asking for "senior level discussions" with both companies "immediately".
'Stores will close' if Asda and Sainsbury's merge

Asda's owner, Wal-Mart, is in talks with Sainsbury's
Retail analyst Natalie Berg said there would "naturally be some job losses" if the deal went ahead, partly because there would be some "reduction in duplication at head office".Asked how individual shops might be affected, Mr Clarke said: "Obviously, if you've got stores in close location to one another, stores will close."He added that the deal, if it went ahead, would have "severe implications" for workers in both supermarket chains."There's 350 people working in any given store," he said, adding that the companies had to "consider the people they employ".
'Stores will close' if Asda and Sainsbury's merge

Unite the union is concerned that stores will close
Mr Clarke said news of a potential merger came at an already difficult time for Sainsbury's staff.
Sky News reported in March that the chain was facing opposition to a pay shake-up that it said would give its store staff a "leading rate" in the sector.But it also admitted that a pay rise would mean the end of its discretionary annual bonus and paid breaks, and said the changes could result in a small number of workers losing out financially.Mr Clarke said staff had been in discussions "for two months now" and had just found out "from the media that all along they've been in discussions behind the scenes with Asda for merger".He said Unite was asking Sainsbury's to withdraw from the talks about a pay shake-up.Ms Berg told Sky News there were "unprecedented levels of change" in the sector because of the "onslaught of the discounters".In the last five years, Aldi and Lidl have grown their combined market share by 80%, she said.
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There was also the increase in online shopping to consider, and "rising costs and subdued consumer demand".All that means "consolidation is inevitable", she said.
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