In a statement released this morning, Christopher Clarke, chairman of the inquiry, said: “Following responses to our provisional findings, we have now concluded that Somerfield’s acquisition of 12 stores is expected to lead to a significant reduction in competition in their local markets.”
In July the CC provisionally found that 14 of the stores could damage competition. However, the CC said that as a result of new evidence from Somerfield, it had decided that the stores in Bedlington and Paisley would not be anti-competitive.
The CC said that Somerfield must now sell its stores in Filey, Middlesbrough Linthorpe, Newark, Pocklington, Poole Bearwood, South Shields and Whitburn.
It added that Somerfield can choose to sell either the acquired store or an existing store in Johnstone, Peebles, and Yam, but in Kelso and Littlehampton, where it has already closed its existing store, it must sell the closed store but can continue to operate the acquired store.
Somerfield said that it would consider the findings at its next board meeting which is due to take place next Thursday.