Sainsbury’s has bought 24 stores from the Co-operative Group for £83m.

The grocer has bought 22 Somerfield stores and two Co-operative stores, following the Co-op’s£1.7bn acquisition of Somerfield.

The stores have a net selling area of 236,000 sq ft, including 13 freehold and long leasehold stores. A further£43m for fit out costs will be incurred. The transaction will be funded from existing cash resources and facilities, and will be slightly dilutive to earnings in the 2009/10 financial year and earnings enhancing in 2010/11.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King said: “We are delighted to acquire these stores which are an excellent addition to our store estate and we are pleased to welcome 1,400 new colleagues to Sainsbury’s.”

The deal, conditional on OFT approval, is expected in May and conversion will take two to three months. The shops will open in the first half of the 2009/10 financial year, and 19 stores will form part of the supermarket estate, and five stores will become Sainsbury’s Locals.