Asda has acquired 12 Safeway stores in Northern Ireland from Morrisons, as predicted in this week’s Grocer.

The agreement, announced this morning, will see Asda acquire 12 Safeway stores for £73.6m in cash plus the value of fuel stocks at the properties.

The deal suits both retailers - Morrisons has been looking to concentrate on its mainland UK network while Asda has been attempting to find an entry into Northern Ireland and Ireland for some time.

Morrisons said that completion is expected to take place over a ten-week period commencing in September, subject to approval from the Office of Fair Trading.

Asda said that it would retain all of Safeway’s existing staff and create an extra 250 jobs by Christmas.

The retailer also expects to invest £30m in modernising and refurbishing the stores over the next two years. Converting the stores could take three months, Asda estimated.