The Co-op has completed its takeover of grocery chain Somerfield, making it the UK’s fifth largest food chain.
The £1.6bn takeover, which sees the Co-op taking on more than 650 Somerfield stores, has created a chain of around 3,000 shops. Other branches have been sold in areas where trade watchdogs had concerns over competition.
Somerfield came last among grocery stores in the recent Which? high street shops survey, while Co-op was only slightly better, according to Which? members, who rated stores for various aspects of service and value for money.
Somerfield to disappear in two years
The integration of Somerfield into the Co-op is expected to take up to two years, as Somerfield’s stores are gradually converted to the Co-op brand. The takeover means that Co-op has an 8% share in the grocery market.
Co-op chief executive Peter Marks said: ‘It is a transformational deal which cements our position as the UK’s number one community retailer and returns us to the premiership of food retailers. It is no longer the Big Four, it’s the Big Five.’
Meanwhile, the off-licence chain Oddbins is facing a wine shortage after French customs seized its stock. The chain’s shipping company went into administration last month, according to national press reports today.
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