Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt announced that the OFT would not to refer the move to the Competition Commission, which will give Tesco 5% of the total c-store market as it looks to expand its Tesco Express format.
The deal to take on some 1,200 stores has been criticised by rival supermarket chains and independent retailers who fear it will give Tesco too much power in the market.
The Association of Convenience Stores has already warned that, although Tesco may offer lower prices and increased employment in the short term, it will adversely affect the c-store sector in the long term, pushing up the prices they pay and reducing margins because it will lower the prices they can charge customers. And Tesco Express would compete in the local market for staff, pushing up c-store costs even further.
The Federation of Wholesale Distributors chairman Rodney Hunt also warned against Tesco’s deal, which when compared to the Co-op’s acquisition last month of c-store chain Alldays, was “measurably more serious news”.
Tesco plans to sell the Dillons newsagents and Supercigs discount tobacconists which are part of the T&S estate.
Meanwhile, Tesco last week said it had received valid acceptance of its offer of some 48.6% of T&S’ existing issued share capital and said the offer period had been extended to December 20.