The Co-operative Group’s acquisition of Scottish retail chain, David Sands Ltd, has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The purchase will see 28 David Sands’ food outlets, located in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, taken over by The Co-operative Food for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is expected to be fully completed by the end of April.

Group chief executive Peter Marks welcomed the OFT’s decision.  “There is a strong strategic fit between the two businesses and the Sands stores will not only complement our existing estate but will also be a valuable addition to our portfolio,” he said. “This major acquisition will significantly strengthen our food business in Scotland, especially in Fife, Kinross and Perthshire, and also reinforces our position as the fourth biggest food retailer in Scotland.”

Almost 700 David Sands’ staff will join The Co-operative Group as part of the acquisition of the family-run business.

The David Sands Ltd chain was founded in 1812 with David Sands in place as chief executive since 1989. When the acquisition was first announced in January, he said that he wanted the opportunity to spend more time with his family but did not rule out a return to retail in the future.