The outcome of Tesco’s appeal against a competition test for planning decisions is unlikely to be revealed until February, fuelling accusations the appeal was simply a delaying tactic.

The appeal was heard this week , with Tesco giving evidence on Tuesday. The retailer, which refused to comment on the process, has claimed a competition test would not remedy the adverse effect on competition identified by the Competition Commission.

The Association of Convenience Stores, M&S, Waitrose and Asda all backed the proposals. “The test should be brought in as soon as possible,” said ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan. “This appeal has just been brought to stall the process.”

A spokeswoman for Waitrose said: “Such a test will increase competition in the sector over the longer term and enhance consumer choice.”