The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) initially attempted to solve the issue through an arrangement which would have seen a competing grocery retailer move on to the site once Tesco had opened a nearby town centre store. When no sale was forthcoming, the OFT referred Tesco to the CC in February. The CC ordered Tesco to suspend development of the former Co-op site in August.
A Tesco spokesman said: "We only ever intended to operate this store while redeveloping the existing Tesco store and have been working hard to sell it. We identified a number of buyers but they were prevented from buying by the OFT on competition grounds."
? Tesco is to be investigated over the proposed acquisition of five Somerfield stores. The OFT has invited rival supermarkets to comment on Tesco's planned purchase of stores in Thurso, Bedlington, Little Lever, Ramsbottom and North Hykeham.