Other negotiations continue
Somerfield has announced that United Co-operatives, one of the potential bidders for the business, has withdrawn its interest.

The grocer said that discussions with other potential bidders are continuing. United Co-operatives announced its interest in Somerfield at the beginning of May, following similar moves by two other consortiums. Property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, Baugur and Apax Partners head one group, while the other includes developer partnership Ian and Richard Livingstone, Nomura and Legal & General. Asda is also believed to be interested in the supermarket chain.

Somerfield will disclose its preliminary results next Wednesday. The retailer posted preliminary group profit before tax and exceptionals of£41.1 million for last year, compared with£25.8 million the year before.

In May, Somerfield said like-for-like group sales fell 0.4 per cent in the 53 weeks to April 30, compared with a rise of 1.1 per cent for the same period a year ago.