The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has referred Tesco’s purchase of a former Co-op store in Slough to the Competition Commission.

Tesco said it would be prepared to sell the Co-op store.

The OFT said the purchase of the store on Uxbridge Road would ‘substantially lessen competition in one-stop grocery shopping in the vicinity of the former Co-op store…which could mean higher prices, and lower quality and service for local consumers’.

Penny Boys, OFT executive director, said: ‘Local consumer complaints prompted our investigation in this case. Our investigation confirms that Tesco's acquisition of the Slough Co-op store reduces the already limited number of competing one-stop-shops in this area. As a result, it raises local concerns similar to those covered in detail in the Competition Commission's investigation into the bids for Safeway. However, Tesco's proposed undertaking to sell this store would address these concerns in a clear-cut manner.'

The OFT will shortly begin a consultation process.