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Coleford and Lydney stores to be sold

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

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TWO Forest stores will be sold as part of a deal struck between their new owners and the Office of Fair Trading.

The OFT has accepted a Midcounties Co-operative offer to address its competition concerns by selling on either the Harry Tuffins or Co-op stores in Lydney and Coleford.

As a result, the merger of the Midcounties Co-op and Harry Tuffins will not be referred to the Competition Commission.

An OFT investigation found that the merger would create competition concerns so Midcounties offered to sell the Harry Tuffins store in Bishop's Castle in Shropshire and either the Harry Tuffins or the Midcounties store in each of Craven Arms in Shropshire, Lydney and Coleford.

Amelia Fletcher, chief economist at the OFT and decision maker in this case, said: "The divestments offered by Midcounties will remove the overlap in each of the four local areas of Bishop's Castle, Craven Arms/Church Stretton, Coleford and Lydney, restoring the level of competition in grocery retailing that existed pre-merger."

Midcounties Co-operative chief executive Ben Reid said: "Following the society's acquisition of Harry Tuffins we have been consulting with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) regarding competition issues.

"We are delighted that the OFT has decided that there is no need to refer our acquisition of Harry Tuffins to the Competition Commission.

"Although we are disappointed with the requirement to sell a number of the stores, we are very much looking forward to integrating the Harry Tuffins sites into our core food retail business."

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