Belfast Telegraph

Competition watching taking a look at opticians deal

The UK's competition watchdog is launching an investigation into the sale of more than 200 Tesco opticians to Vision Express.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a phase one merger inquiry to discover if the deal would result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market.

The tie-up, announced in April, would see Vision Express run the opticians based in 206 Tesco stores across the UK and three in Ireland, with around 1,500 staff keeping their jobs.

In a statement, the CMA added: "To assist it with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the transaction from any interested party."

The Tesco Opticians network makes around £90 million a year in sales and has been run by Tesco for the past 18 years.

The supermarket opened its first opticians in Peterborough in 1998, expanding the network to 100 in 2008 and more than doubling the chain since then.

Tesco has been leading a drive for leaner operations, selling off businesses including its restaurant chain Giraffe, Dobbies Garden Centres and music and and video streaming service Blinkbox.

The CMA deadline for comments is August 16.