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ACM clears acquisition of drugstore chain Dirx Drogisterijen by rival A.S. Watson

Retail company A.S. Watson Health & Beauty Benelux, which owns Dutch drugstore chains Kruidvat and Trekpleister among other brands, is allowed to acquire the stores of rival drugstore chain Dirx Drogisterijen. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) does not foresee any major changes to competition. Also, consumers will continue to have enough options after the acquisition.

Dirx Drogisterijen has a very small market share in the Netherlands in terms of drugstore products sold in drugstores. If sales of drugstore products sold in supermarkets were included as well, then Dirx’ market share would be even smaller (less than 1 percent). The acquisition will thus have little effect on current market positions.

Consumers will continue to have enough options. A large share of drugstore products are not sold in drugstores. Supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and other stores sell drugstore products, too. In addition, ACM looked at eight local markets to see to what extent consumer choice is restricted if a Dirx location is close to a Kruidvat location or a Trekpleister location, which will all fall under the same holding. In each of these eight cases, consumers continue to have options between competing sellers of drugstore products (within a 15-minute radius by car).