A major new force could emerge in the Channel Islands grocery scene with the merger of Jersey based companies Le Riche and Ann Street. Le Riche confirmed it had received a preliminary approach from Ann Street chairman Tom Scott, but declined to comment on the talks before the end of the month, when it releases its full-year results. However, the two parties have highly complementary businesses on the islands. Ann Street is primarily a brewer and drinks wholesaler with a small chain of pubs and hotels. However, it also operates a small chain of convenience stores in Guernsey under the Island Wide banner. Le Riche is primarily a food retailer, operating stores under the Stampers, Le Riches and Checkers banners, with interests in other areas including foodservice and property. Over the last 18 months, Le Riche has been investing heavily in new space and refurbishments to tackle aggressive competition from rivals Safeway and Channel Islands Co-op, opening a large hypermarket in Guernsey and upgrading existing stores. A major site redevelopment in St Brelade, Jersey, is also planned for this year. {{NEWS }}