One Stop’s acquisition of 33 Alfred Jones Spar stores is to face an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

“The Office of Fair Trading is considering whether this agreement has resulted in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation has resulted, or may be expected to result, in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services,” said the OFT in a statement.

The OFT is inviting comment on the acquisition with an August 2 deadline for interested parties to make a submission.

If approved by the OFT, the purchase will bring the Tesco-owned One Stop estate to 682 stores and grow its employee base to almost 10,000. The Alfred Jones estate is located predominantly in the North West and comprises 49 convenience stores and 18 forecourt sites.

An Alfred Jones spokeswoman said the 33 Spar sites did not fit into the group’s future plans and a decision had been made to dispose of them while protecting staff working at these stores.