Somerfield has established a joint venture with privately-owned TM Retail to open six new-style convenience stores.
The shops will trade under the Somerfield fascia, but will be owned and operated by TM. The first will open next month at Cheadle in Cheshire and a further five will follow.
Somerfield executive chairman John von Spreckelsen said: 'This joint venture brings together Somerfield's strength as a leading high street fresh food retailer, with TM Retail's expertise in news, magazines and the local convenience offer.'
A Somerfield spokesman said that, depending on the success of the first six, more stores may be opened with TM or other retailers.
TM recently appointed Goldman Sachs to conduct a strategic review, fuelling speculation of a sale.
A Somerfield spokesman said that acquiring TM or part of its business 'is not an option that we are looking at'.