Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

Co-op completes Somerfield move

Co-op store exterior
The Co-op will become the UK's fifth largest food retailer

The Co-operative Group (Co-op) will complete its 1.6bn takeover of grocery chain Somerfield on Monday.

The takeover marks the end of Somerfield which began as a family grocery store in Bristol 130 years ago.

The Co-op will close the firm's Bristol HQ within 18 months and move staff to Manchester.

The grocery chain said it hopes to relocate "as many as possible" of the 750 employees affected in Bristol to Manchester.

Paul Mason, Somerfield chief executive, said he believed that the takeover would allow "the business to be transformed in a way that just couldn't have happened in the public markets".

The Co-op will take on more than 650 Somerfield stores to make it the UK's fifth largest food retailer behind Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisions.

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