Top brass from Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco will explain to competition watchdogs their divestment plans for Safeway should they be given the go-ahead to buy the chain.
Retail entrepreneur Philip Green, the other bidder in the frame, will not be asked to explain his plans, as the Office of Fair Trading decided that his investment vehicle Trackdean was the only Safeway suitor that would not need to be investigated by the Competition Commission.
In an interview with the BBC he said his skills in clothing retail would serve him in the world of food retail.
Green said: “The thing about food retailing is that there's guaranteed footfall. You don't get that in clothing, people don't have to buy clothes every week.
“As a clothing retailer we've learnt to be innovative, in food retailing, you're driven by price. I think a combination of price and innovation and giving people a better shopping experience, that's maybe what's lacking."
Asked whether he considered himself to be in pole position to takeover Safeway, Green replied: “No I don't. I'm not known for overpaying for things and I'm not a buyer of just anything. If the fundamentals add up, we'll go there. If not, we won't.”
The Commission's findings are expected to be completed by August 12.