Most consumers do not care if Safeway is taken over by a rival - even though a merger would reduce their choice of supermarkets.

An exclusive survey of more than 1,000 people by TNS for The Grocer revealed 52% of consumers were not bothered about the outcome of the inquiry into the four companies wanting to take over Safeway.

More than one in four (27%) thought a rival should be allowed to buy the chain and just one in five (20%) thought it should not.

Asked which of the trade buyers they would prefer to take over the chain, consumers passed over City favourite Morrisons, which Cantor Index gives 5-2 odds, for Asda and Tesco, which clinched 28% and 24% of the vote respectively.

Surprisingly, opinions were more aligned on Bhs owner Philip Green: 53% of consumers said they thought it would be “a good thing” rather than “a bad thing” for the supermarket sector if Cantor’s 3-1 second favourite bought the chain.

The Competition Commission will today submit its findings to the DTI following a last minute meeting last week with Asda at which the multiple is believed to have proposed that Safeway be broken up between itself and Morrisons.

See GrocerToday for further details during the day.