The supermarket chains involved in the bidding process for the estate of rival Safeway are due to outline their cases at a public forum in the City this week.

Top brass from Asda,Morrisons,Sainsbury and Tesco - whose bids have all been referred to the Competition Commission - will address the issues of local competition as well as national questions and take questions from the floor.

Safeway will attend but has not been asked to make an address. Nor will retail billionaire Philip Green the fifth bidder in the frame for the supermarket chain.

Meanwhile, the takeover of Safeway by any other supermarket chain would lead to dominant local market positions, according to research by business information group Experian.

The report states that in many of the marginal catchments, the acquisition of the Safeway store by a rival “will potentially reduce the number of competitors from four to three and from three to two".

Experian’s report said that across the catchment areas of all Safeway stores, 58% of households are motivated by convenience, and will use the closest store to where they live and work.