The Competition Appeal Tribunal has thrown out Somerfield’s appeal against the Competition Commission’s ruling on which 12 of the 115 stores it bought from Morrisons it could sell and to whom.

The Commission had argued that in 12 locations Somerfield’s competitors were not strong enough to prevent market abuses occurring.

Somerfield’s original objection was based on three issues: it disputed there had been a “substantial lessening of competition” in the areas concerned; it challenged the instruction that it had to dispose of 12 specific stores rather than any outlet in the area; and that it had to sell the stores to buyers approved by the Commission.

Somerfield could take the case to the Court of Appeal.