The Co-operative Group is unfazed at taking on the most controversial Netto store in the Asda sell-off.

The society acquired the store, in Birtley, Durham, last week, along with two other Nettos. The store was a key talking point in the OFT's consultation on its decision to force Asda to sell 47 Netto stores.

Documents released by the watchdog earlier this year revealed the majority of responses received in the consultation had related to the Birtley store, with respondents expressing concern that Asda would be unable to find a buyer and claiming that competition would not be reduced if Asda kept the store. The OFT also received a 600-signature petition asking it to overturn its decision and allow Asda to keep the site.

However, the OFT ruled the concerns did "not warrant a change of the proposed undertakings in lieu of a reference".

The Co-op Group, which already has a regional distribution centre in the town, said it was "looking forward" to taking over the store. "We plan to convert the store to a fresh and modern c-store format, with an in-store pharmacy. We are confident a Co-operative food store will be an asset to the local area," a spokesman said.