Tesco has insisted the Competition Commission will not find any evidence that it has a so-called landbank designed to thwart ­rivals' attempts to build stores.

In its submission, Tesco says its willingness to take risks to implement its aggressive growth strategy meant it needed a larger "pipeline".

Sainsbury's and Morrisons suggest that if the Competition Commission discovers evidence that landbanks are preventing competition then mandatory divestment should be considered.

But Tesco company secretary Lucy Neville-Rolfe said: "Once the Commission has gone through the facts and found out what we have got and where we've got it, they will conclude that there is no need [for divestment]."

She said Sainsbury's claim that Tesco would have a 43% market share, compared with just over 30% now, if supermarkets were to build on their existing landbanks was "frankly nonsense".