One of a batch of eight former Somerfield stores bought by Haldanes has been sold to rival TJ Morris without ever trading as a Haldanes store.

The fledgling supermarket chain announced the purchase of a string of stores in January this year, including a former Co-op Group store in Pwllheli, north Wales.

However, it has emerged that while the other seven stores acquired at the same time as the Pwllheli store have now opened, that site has since been snapped up by variety discount retailer TJ Morris, which plans to open a Home Bargains store there.

This follows the closure of two stores in as many months, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire and Dunbar, East Lothian, after a company-wide consultation with staff over possible redundancies and store closures.

Haldanes, which now has 23 stores, has struggled since opening in November last year. It claimed to have inherited falling sales at the stores it bought from the Co-op Group.

A spokesman for the retailer insisted Haldanes was close to acquiring more stores, but said he could not give further information "because of the sensitive stage of negotiations for the acquisition of other stores from a number of different owners".

Speaking to The Grocer last month, chairman Arthur Harris insisted the outlook was brighter. "Sales are improving daily and customer numbers are up week-on-week," he said.