Tesco’s rivals will seek to block the unrelenting expansion of the supermarket chain this weekend when they submit initial responses to a Competition Commission inquiry into the grocery sector. Sunday Times

It is understood ASDA will say it is prepared to back radical proposals forcing Tesco and other rivals to sell off land and stores to boost competition - but only as a last resort.

Asda’s preferred remedy would be an overhaul of the planning system. It is expected to support the commission’s proposal to introduce a 'competition' or 'fascia' test that would force local authorities to give preferential treatment to planning applications for new stores from retailers that do not already have a presence in the area.

Asda would like the commission to support store and land divestments as an option if the planning innovations prove impossible to implement.

Sainsbury is expected to ask the commission to modify its proposal for a competition test so that it targets Tesco’s expansion without damaging its own growth prospects.

It is thought that Sainsbury would like the test to be applied only when a supermarket group already has a local market share of 50% or more.