Morrisons has been given the green light to begin its programme of opening smaller stores, after the OFT rubberstamped its acquisition of 30 stores from The Co-operative Group.

The OFT decided there was no need to refer the merger to the Competition Commission.

"We're pleased at the decision and are looking forward to introducing new customers to our unique Market Street offering throughout the country," said development director Chris Evenson.

Ten stores have been converted and the retailer plans to have the rest trading by the end of the year.