Morrisons’ takeover of McColl’s has been provisionally approved, after the supermarket giant told regulators it would sell 28 convenience stores to push the move through.
The supermarket group agreed a £190m deal to rescue McColl’s from administration in May.
However, the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) last month raised concerns over 35 locations where it saw the potential for reduced competition between McColl’s, Morrisons and Motor Fuel Group - which is owned by Morrisons’ parent firm - stores.
On Monday, the watchdog said it is now set to accept an offer from Morrisons to sell 28 McColl’s stores to address the concerns over local competition.
The CMA senior director of mergers Sorcha O’Carroll said: “Our preliminary view is that the sale of these stores will preserve competition in these local areas and prevent consumers from losing out due to this deal, at a time when shoppers are already facing rising prices.
“If, after reviewing the responses to our consultation, we conclude that the competition issues have been addressed, the deal will be cleared.”
Morrisons will now seek to sell the stores to a buyer or buyers approved by the competition regulator.
Those set for sale include one store in Scotland, in Perth, 26 shops in England and one in Wales.
While the number of McColl’s stores that Morrisons is proposing to sell is lower than the number of areas where concerns were originally identified, the CMA said the sale of some stores would address the concerns in multiple locations.
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