The 12 stores in question, which include a c-store in Filey, North Yorkshire, must now be sold, in the words of the official statement, to “suitable grocery retailers approved by the CC”.
Inquiry chairman Christopher Clarke said: “Following responses to our provisional findings, we have now concluded that Somerfield’s acquisition of 12 of the stores is expected to lead to a significant reduction in competition in their local markets. It is important for customers that competition in these local markets is restored and so Somerfield must now sell the specified stores to grocery retailers who are able to compete effectively on price, quality, range and service in these areas.”
Somerfield would not comment on the findings prior to a board meeting on September 8. An announcement regarding a possible takeover for the retail chain is also expected this week, with two separate groups of investors hoping to win the approval of the Somerfield directors.