Competition Commission invites comment on acquisition of Morrisons stores
The Competition Commission has issued a statement of issues surrounding 23 of the 115 stores Somerfield acquired from Morrisons.

The review may have repercussions for the present trend of supermarkets moving into the convenience store sector as a way of expanding their share without falling foul of competition regulations.

As well as looking at whether it is appropriate to distinguish between large stores, midsize units and convenience stores, the commission is investigating:

  • How the size of catchment areas affect local competition

  • What effect the acquisition will have on a national level

  • The number of outlets that compete with Somerfield locally

  • Whether the methodologies used to measure competitiveness are still valid

  • What other barriers of entry exist locally, such as planning restrictions

Anyone wishing to comment further on the issues raised may do so by May 27 by writing, or by e-mail.

Seymour Pierce said the statement of issues comes as no big surprise, but welcomed the fact that the issue of convenience store acquisitions is being addressed.

Seymour Pierce head of equities Richard Ratner said: 'In some ways, the comments are of greater importance to the sector as a whole, rather than Somerfield, as the latter is likely to be done and dusted in respect of its takeover by the time the Competition Commission reports.