Directors blame lengthy takeover
Somerfield made a pre-tax loss of£617.9 million for the year to April 29 - compared with a£60.9 million profit the year before - as it closed 50 stores, losing millions of pounds worth of stock.

Somerfield was taken private at the end of 2005 in a£1.8 billion deal. Accounts filed at Companies House revealed sales rose from£4.6 billion in 2005 to£5.2 billion in the year to April.

However, like-for-like sales at the grocer fell 4.6 per cent over the period and like-for-likes plummeted 16.9 per cent at the group's Kwik Save chain.

The directors said in the report: 'The takeover of the group lasted approximately 10 months. In the view of the directors, the delay and uncertainty has contributed to the trading results.'

However, trading in the current year is understood to have improved considerably.

A company spokesman said: 'These accounts reflect the huge transition in the business in the year to April last year and the significant repositioning of Somerfield as a focused local convenience stores group.'