mccoll's store

Henderson Group’s completed acquisition of McColl’s five northern Irish stores is now under examination by the UK’s competition watchdog.

The CMA has launched a phase one investigation to determine if the deal will trigger “a substantial lessening of competition” within the UK convenience market.

Interested parties have until 26 January to submit their comments to the CMA, with a decision due on 9 March 2018.

The Spar wholesaler first agreed to acquire the five stores in November, which McColl’s inherited as part of a takeover of 300 Co-op stores across the UK. They are now trading as Spar stores.

Henderson Group already owns and operates the Eurospar, Spar and Vivo convenience chains in Northern Ireland.

The acquisition of McColl’s stores came after the wholesaler invested £30m in developing its Mallusk headquarters and opened a new £12.5m warehouse in September.

Henderson Group published record financial results in April, with a 6% increase in turnover to £699.3m for the year ending 31 December 2016, while its pre-tax profits rose by 11% to £24m.