United Co-operatives has pulled out of the bidding race for supermarket group Somerfield.

In a statement to the City released this morning, United Co-op said that it had “now decided not to proceed with an offer for Somerfield”.

No explanation was given for the withdrawal.

United Co-op had approached Somerfield with the view to exploring the possibility of making an offer for Somerfield last month.

Somerfield said that discussions with other potential bidders would continue.

These include, Icelandic retail giant Baugur, Apax and Nomura.