FENLAND: Musgrave snap up Somerfield in Chatteris but could Morrison take on Wisbech?

SOMERFIELD store in Chatteris has been sold to the Irish food chain Musgrave whose main brands include Budgens, Londis, and Mace. And there is growing speculation that another Fenland branch of Somerfield, in the Horse Fair at Wisbech, may become either a

SOMERFIELD store in Chatteris has been sold to the Irish food chain Musgrave whose main brands include Budgens, Londis, and Mace.

And there is growing speculation that another Fenland branch of Somerfield, in the Horse Fair at Wisbech, may become either a Morrisons or Sainsbury supermarket.

Musgrave operates many of their food brands as franchises and have snapped up the Chatteris store as part of the sale conditions imposed by the Government of Somerfields to the Co-op.

In total 133 Somerfield stores caused the Office of Fair Trading concerns over competition issues and ordered their sale as part of the �1.6 billion deal that sees some 650 Somerfield stores transferred.

Also in Cambridgeshire there could be pressure on Co-op to sell off their Wisbech store and industry observers expect this could become either a branch of Sainsbury or Morrison.

However that means the Somerfield stores in March and Whittlesey moving comfortably to their new owners.

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Co-op is expected to take up to two years to fully integrate the Somerfield stores and that will include closing the Somerfield head office in Bristol as the Co-op expands its Manchester base.

Somerfield chief executive Paul Mason said: "It's not been easy, but I really believe that the take private of Somerfield has allowed the business to be transformed in a way that just couldn't have happened in the public markets. I am thrilled to see the revitalised Somerfield going into such good hands.