Twelve shops acquired as Asda moves into Northern Ireland
Asda has bought 12 Safeway stores in Northern Ireland from Morrisons for£73.6 million in cash. As part of the deal, Morrisons also acquired four development agreements.

Asda plans to use the stores to launch its George clothing line in Northern Ireland. All Safeway employees will be retained, while 250 more jobs will be created by Christmas.

Asda president Andy Bond (pictured) said: 'For the first time we'll be able to bring real competition to Northern Ireland by introducing our great value and unmatchable mix of food, general merchandise and George clothing.'

The acquisition is conditional on Office of Fair Trading approval and completion is expected by the end of the year.

Morrisons said the disposals were in line with its strategy of concentrating on its mainland UK network.