JD SPORTS has launched a defence of its takeover of Footasylum after the Competitions and Markets Authority said it is to carry out an investigation into the deal.

JD Sports said it had “carefully considered” the CMA’s claims that the £90 million acquisition of Footasylum would reduce competition substantially and it believes that there is “clear evidence” it would not adversely affect “the relevant clothing and footwear retail markets where the two businesses operate”.

It said its commercial success rests on its global in-store and online offerings being compelling “to both consumers and its brand partners”.

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JD Sports said: “The acquisition of 70 Footasylum stores in the UK does not affect this commercial reality and does not adversely impact the competitive landscape.

“Consumers and brand owners can and do exercise choice across a wide range of large and sophisticated multi-channel and online retailers, both in the UK and internationally, with the major brands increasingly selling their products direct to consumers through their own sales channels.”

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports, said: “The CMA has referred their review of this acquisition to phase two on the basis that it could be bad for competition and may have an impact on price. I strongly disagree with this.”

READ MORE: JD Sports’ offer for Footasylum ‘fairly reflects’ market position

JD Sports also said that “the challenging UK retail market provides many examples of retailers who have either suffered or been unable to survive because they have not met the rapidly evolving requirements of consumers and brand owners”.

JD Sports is the UK’s largest sportswear retailer after recently overtaking Sports Direct. It has more than 400 stores and also owns other retail brands such as Size?. Footasylum, which first opened in 2006, generated revenues close to £200m in 2018.