Spar has purchased 11 former Somerfield stores from the Co-operative Group, some of  which will be converted to its larger-store Eurospar format.

Managing director Jerry Marwood said that the acquisition was a positive step for the group and added that it may not stop there. He said: 'The purchase of the Somerfield stores is a big opportunity for us. As a collection of well-funded private businesses, Spar is ideally placed to take advantage of the changes happening in our market place.' He added the group had also expressed an interest in individual Woolworths stores.

Spar  posted a 6% increase in sales in convenience stores for the four-week period up until January 4, excluding fuel and services. This increase in sales was driven by growth in the alcohol and confectionery sectors which both showed increases of 6%, it said. Like-for-like grocery sales for this period also increased by 5%.

The Musgrave Group has also purchased six former Somerfield stores from the Co-operative. One of the conditions of the Somerfield acquisition by the Co-op was that the group sell off 126 stores in the interest of local competition.