Competition ruling over acquired Morrisons outlets
The Competition Commission has told Somerfield it must sell 12 supermarkets to approved buyers. The decision follows the grocer's acquisition of 115 stores from Morrisons.

The Commission provisionally identified 14 local markets where the acquisition gave rise to competition concerns. However, after receiving new evidence from Somerfield, the Commission is satisfied that the purchase of shops at Bedlington and Paisley are not anti-competitive.

Somerfield must sell stores it acquired from Morrisons at seven towns: Filey, Middlesbrough, Newark, Pocklington, Poole, South Shields and Whitburn in Scotland.

At Johnstone, Peebles and Yarm, Somerfield can choose to sell either the acquired store or an existing Somerfield store. In Kelso and Littlehampton, where it had already closed its existing outlet, it must sell the closed store but can continue to operate the acquired one.

Chairman of the inquiry Christopher Clarke said: 'We have concluded that Somerfield's acquisition of 12 of the stores is expected to lead to asignificant reduction in competition in its local markets. Somerfield must now sell the specified stores to grocery retailers that are able to compete effectively on price, quality, range and service in these areas.'