Iceland is considering swooping on stores that Sainsbury’s and Asda might be forced to sell as a result of their proposed merger.

The frozen food chain is reportedly eyeing any supermarkets that need to be disposed of in order to expand its Food Warehouse business.

Iceland’s managing director Richard Walker told the Financial Times the grocer was “looking at everything for sure”.

He added: “Food retail drives footfall and we are the only supermarket that is opening on retail parks. We are looking at every retailer, trying to pick off as much as we can.”

It is expected that Sainsbury’s and Asda would need to sell off a number of existing stores in order to get the green light from the Competition and Markets Authority. The Financial Times suggested that the number of stores the grocers could be required to sell could range from “around a dozen to more than 200”.

Last September, the CMA warned that the combination of the two businesses would result in a “realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition” in 463 areas across the UK – leaving plenty of opportunity for rivals to swoop on stores.

Walker said that, while many of Sainsbury’s and Asda’s superstores “would be too big” for Iceland, “you can redevelop, you can carve up, you can put in neighbouring retailers alongside”. Iceland began rolling out the fascia, which sells more upmarket products, on retail parks in 2014.

Sainsbury’s and Asda first unveiled details of their proposed merger in March 2018, but the deal has been criticised by grocery rivals Morrisons, Lidl and Aldi.