Newspaper reports over the weekend stated that the Co-operative Group is ready to bid £66m for Londis.

It is expected that the Co-op’s chief executive Martin Beaumont will act before 22 June when the shareholders will vote on Irish wholesaler Musgrave’s £60m offer at an EGM.

Last month the Co-op bought the Conveco chain, a group of 64 stores operating under the Spar and Local Plus fascias in the south-west.

This took the total number of Co-op stores to 1,820.

Over the past four years the company has bought Alldays and Balfour, increasing its food sales last year to over £3bn.

Last week Londis rejected an offer from the Lancelot consortium and the owner of Iceland and Booker distribution The Big Food Group has said it is no longer interested in buying Londis.