A SPORTS giant based in Bury has been told its £90million to deal to buy a rival could cause competition concerns.

But bosses at JD Sports maintain that their acquisition of Footasylum, first announced last year, is still viable.

An initial enquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), has found the merger could affect the in-store and online choice for potential customers.

The CMA will now look to receive submission from JD Sports, Footasylum and any other interested parties, before deciding whether to launch a more in-depth probe.

Colin Raftery, CMA senior director, said: "JD Sports is already by far the largest player in the growing sports fashion sector, so any deal that results in it buying up one of its closest competitors could clearly give cause for concern.

"Our investigation has shown us that JD Sports and Footasylum have been competing strongly across the UK, with a sports fashion offering that few other retailers are able to match. That’s why we're concerned this deal could lead to higher prices, less choice and a worse shopping experience for customers."

The authority says the chain, which has 400 stores, already owns the Size?, Scotts, Tessuti and Footpatrol brands.

Peter Cowgill, JD Sports' executive chairman, said: "We continue to believe Footasylum would be a positive addition to the group, bringing a differentiated customer demographic and fashion-led product range that is complementary to our existing business.

"We also believe there will be significant operational and strategic benefits from a combination of the two businesses.

"Our discussions with the CMA are ongoing as we consider whether to proceed to phase two or if acceptable remedies can be agreed at this stage."