Bradford-based supermarket chain Morrisons has today completed its year-long £3bn takeover of rival chain Safeway.

Executive chairman Sir Ken Morrison said the deal marks an exciting beginning for the new company.

Sir Ken continued: “In January last year we promised that this merger would create a major fourth force in the UK food retailing.

“We must now focus all our energy and the very considerable talents of all our employees on delivering that promise. We have clear and detailed integration plans and I remain very confident that we can put these plans in place quickly and effectively.”

As part of the integration Morrisons is to consider converting 178 medium-sized Safeway stores into a new ‘Morrisons Compact’ brand, in a bid to compete with the Tesco Metro and Sainsbury’s Local smaller formats.

Morrisons had originally planned to retain the Safeway brand for stores of under 15,000 sq ft, but now believes that it may have problems merchandising goods in chain with a different name and with the use of Morrisons own label lines.

The merger has already sparked a price war with rival retailers. Asda has claimed it will cut prices by £40m and Tesco look certain to follow suit. Morrisons will make around 800 price cuts with the aim of reducing prices by 6 % in the former Safeway stores.

Sir Ken will visit Safeway headquarters in Hayes Middlesex, today; to discuss the company’s integration plans with staff there. It is believed that the office, which employs around 1,200 staff is due to be closed.