The Association of Convenience Stores chief executive David Rae has warned that the OFT’s sanctioning of Tesco’s acquisition of T&S stores would have a damaging impact on the convenience store sector.

“This acquisition will mean Tesco will increase its buying power, and many of our members are concerned that suppliers will have to make up these lost revenues through increased prices to existing convenience sector retailers,” said Rae.

“This pressure on prices and buying terms may prove too much for some operators to cope with, and the closure of outlets could lead to a reduction in customer choice and possibly net job losses,” he added.

Friends of the Earth was also critical of the OFT’s decision: “The Secretary of State has ignored all the evidence that allowing Tesco to take over T&S will put more independent shops out of business, destroying people’s livelihoods and reducing consumer choice,” said FoE food and farming campaigner Sandra Bell.