The Co-op’s takeover of grocery chain Somerfield has been given the go-ahead by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The green light for the £1.6bn deal means that the Co-op will be the UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain, behind Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Morrisons.
But the Co-op is to dispose of stores to allay competition issues in 126 local areas. Surveys of 40,000 consumers who had both a Co-op and a Somerfield in their local area found there were concerns in 126 localities.
The OFT said it is confident that the offloading of these stores won’t raise any concerns at a national level because the number of stores concerned are a small proportion of grocery stores in the UK.
The merged firm will have a market share of 8%.
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