Waitrose and Tesco are among a host of retailers that have snapped up stores from the Co-operative Group following its £1.57bn acquisition of Somerfield.
Waitrose has bought 13 stores, Tesco has bought seven and Musgrave Group and Spar have snapped up six apiece. Morrisons announced last month that it had bought 34 stores, while a further 24 outlets were sold to various buyers in December.
On Friday the Office of Fair Trading said the Somerfield takeover, which was agreed in July last year, would not be referred to the Competition Commission because the Co-op Group had accepted undertakings to address local competition issues.
“This divestment package ensures that consumers will continue to enjoy strong competition in local grocery markets across the UK, while at the same time allowing a strategically important and likely pro-competitive merger in the UK grocery sector to go ahead,” said OFT chief executive John Fingleton.
A spokesman for the Co-op Group added: “There is considerable interest in the stores that the OFT has required us to sell. We are making excellent progress and this keeps us on track to complete the deal in the first quarter of this year.”