Southern Co-operatives has purchased 13 stores from beleaguered convenience chain Nearby Stores, which went into voluntary administration at the end of 2008.

Talks are continuing with two other interested parties for the sale of the remaining 20 stores in the chain, which is based in the south west of England. Christie & Co is handling the sale on behalf of administrators KPMG.

Phil Ponsonby, chief operating officer for food retail and services at Southern Co-operatives, confirmed the acquisition, and said that the company was now working with suppliers to restore stock levels which had fallen low after deliveries were halted by main supplier Nisa.

"In addition, we have been working with the Post Office and are pleased to have already been able to restore this important service so quickly to the stores at Winsley in Bradford-on-Avon and Twerton in Bath," Ponsonby added.

He also said that the current staff would be kept on as part of the deal. A re-branding programme will see the 13 stores converted to the Southern Co-operative facia over the next few weeks.

Nearby Stores traded under the Spar banner before switching to Nisa in 2007.