An application from Channel Islands retailer Sandpiper to takeover Jersey’s Costcutter stores is being probed by the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA).

Sandpiper has submitted an application to buy J Mart Limited’s 16 Costcutter stores and rebrand them as Food Hall and Iceland fascias. The application will need to be approved by CICRA before a deal can proceed.

CICRA said it wanted to ensure the sale would not impact Jersey consumers through a reduction of competition. The proposed acquisition has generated an unprecedented number of responses to the regulatory authority.

Michael Byrne, CICRA chief executive, said: “It is important that we understand thoroughly the impact this particular sale would have on local people if approved. In particular, we want to ensure the grocery market in Jersey works in the best interests of consumers and transactions such as this do not risk reducing value, choice and access to services.

“CICRA can now assess this application which will be conducted in accordance with its standard merger assessment process.”

CICRA said it hoped to reach a final decision on the sale within the next six-months.

The J Mart stores traded as Spar until 2014 when it signed a supply deal with Costcutter, bringing the brand to the island for the first time.