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Retailer agrees to address OPT concerns
COMPETION regulators have acted on concerns about the take over last year by a supermarket chain in south Shropshire that had been operated under the Harry Tuffin brand.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) accepted undertakings offered by Midcounties Cooperative Limited to address the competition concerns arising from its completed acquisition of Tuf fin Investments Limited.
As a result, the merger will not be refer red to the Competition Commission.
The OFT announced in October 2012 that it was suspending its duty to refer the merger to the Competition Commission because it was considering whether to accept undertakings from Midcounties Co-operative.
An OFT's investigation had found that the merger would create competition concerns in the retailing of g roceries around Bishops Castle and Craven Arms and Church Stretton.
Midcounties Co-operative has of fered to sell the Harry Tuffins’ store in Bishops Castle and either the Harry Tuffins’ or the Midcounties’ store in each of Craven Arms or Church Stretton.
The OFT staged a public consultation on the proposed undertakings.
It has not received any representations and on the basis of the evidence before it has concluded that the undertakings are appropriate to remedy the competition concerns it had identified.
The regulator will need to be satisfied that a proposed purchaser or purchasers for the stores identified is independent of Midcounties, has the resources, expertise, incentive and intention to maintain the business and can be expected to receive all relevant regulatory and licensing approvals required.
Furthermore, the OFT must be satisfied that the sale of the stores will not in itself raise competition concerns.
“The divestments offered by Midcounties will remove the overlap in each of the four local areas of Bishops Castle, Craven Arms and Church Stretton,” said Amelia Fletcher, chief economist at the OFT.
“This will ensure that customers in these local areas continue to benefit from competition when buying groceries.”