BWG, the Irish-owned retail group that runs the Spar and Mace franchises, is in talks to acquire Fresh, a Dublin-based supermarket chain with four outlets across the city. Fresh was set up two years ago by local businessman Noel Smith with the initial intention to open 10 stores through an investment of €100m (£80m).

Last month its CEO Conor Whelan, a former senior executive of BWG, left the company after just a year in charge. The chain markets itself as The Good Food Market and 100% Irish, selling gourmet, speciality and fresh foods. On its website, the company claims it is planning to open more supermarkets around Ireland, including another store in Dublin, later this year. BWG already supplies all Fresh stores. According to trade sources, the asking price is likely to be around €10m (£8m).

If a deal is agreed, Fresh would be BWG’s second acquisition this year. In April it acquired rival wholesaler Mangans, which operated the Mace franchise for the west of Ireland, as well as Vivo and Xpress Stop brands nationally, in a deal thought to be worth €45m. BWG has also been linked to Superquinn.