The first Budgens store to be divested to an independent retailer - Tout’s Budgens in Cheddar, Somerset - has been sold to Sainsbury’s for an undisclosed sum.

The large store, which features a Subway, in-store butchery counter and a pharmacy, was taken over by the Tout family in 2004. Managing director Jonathan Tout, who runs two other stores in Langford and Nailsea, said he had “made the tough decision to sell to Sainsbury’s” and had now exchanged contracts.

“We feel this is the best decision for all parties; our business, Sainsbury’s and Cheddar,” he said. “In selling to Sainsbury’s we are able to further invest in our business and neighbouring stores while safeguarding jobs,” he added.

The store is expected to close down in October prior to a refit and will re-open as a Sainsbury’s before Christmas. All staff are expected to transfer to Sainsbury’s.

The store’s Subway and Butchery counter will be closed down but Sainsbury’s will retain the in-store pharmacy which will continue to be operated by Tout’s.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our customers, local suppliers and team for all their support since we took over the store from Budgens in 2004,” Jonathan added. Many local residents had shown their support for the Budgens store when Sainsbury’s and Tesco both applied for planning permission to build on nearby land in 2012.

News of the sale, which raises questions about how many other retailers will sell their stores when their current contracts with Budgens draw to a close, has taken the local community by surprise.