Somerfield has told potential takeover bidders circling the group to put up or shut up.

A statement from the multiple said it had been in “extensive discussions with a number of parties” since March 2005. It added: “Thus far there has been no formal offer and the board is now seeking to bring the process to a prompt conclusion, and there can be no certainty that an offer for the group will be forthcoming.”
Suitors include two separate groups of property developers, one led by pub chain tycoon Robert Tchenguiz. United Co-op also expressed interest in the group but withdrew.

Sales under the Somerfield fascia for the 16 weeks to August 20, were up by 0.3% on a like for like basis compared to last year. When Kwik Save is taken into account, group sales fell by 1.8% in the same period.