Somerfield has told the Competition Commission it does not compete with the big four - a statement that reinforces its strategy of positioning itself as a local grocer and not a major supermarket chain.

In its submission to the grocery inquiry, part of which has been made public, the retailer claims it does not "actively compete" in the one-stop main shop market.

"This market is the domain of the major multiple grocery retailers of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and larger Waitrose stores,"

it says. "As our stores are generally located on high streets or in neighbourhoods, they are not large enough to stock the range

of products required to

satisfy the needs of the true one-stop shopper."

Somerfield also tells the inquiry it believes it is too simplistic to categorise shopping missions as one-stop and top-up shops.

Some consumers, it argues, carry out a "fractured", or staggered, main shop - and many of them do so in Somerfield stores.

"The fractured main shop tends to lend itself to older consumers who choose to shop the high street or their neighbourhood stores. This is largely due to social reasons (interaction with friends and colleagues) and also through necessity (being more dependent on public transport). The location of our stores has a high street and neighbourhood bias. Consequently, we find we over-index versus other retailers in this market.

"Given these customers tend to shop the high street or their neighbourhood, our main competitors are other high street and neighbourhood-based grocery retailers.

"There are clearly a few instances where we will compete with smaller, high street or neighbourhood major multiples - however, these tend to be by exception rather than as a rule."

Last month, Somerfield boss Paul Mason told The Grocer the chain was aiming to become "Britain's favourite local grocery shop" as part of moves to refocus the business after its take­over by Apax Partners.