Waitrose has bought 13 Somerfield stores from the Co-operative Group arising out of the Co-op's takeover of Somerfield.

As tipped by Property Week on 12 December 2008 Waitrose has bought the stores following an Office of Fair Trading ruling.

Supermarket chain Co-op agreed the sale of two store portfolios, to Tesco and Waitrose, and the Waitrose deal has now completed.

In December it completed the sale of 38 stores to Morrisons.

The Co-op still needs to sell a further 60 shops over the next year, taking the total to 126, as ruled by the Office of Fair Trading in October last year.

There were 26 enforced sales from the portfolio which have now exchanged: four have been taken by Morrisons, six by Tesco, seven by Irish retailer Musgrave, six by Spar and one by Lidl.

Waitrose said today it will also open at least nine new branches through organic growth in 2009.

The total 22 shops will take the Waitrose estate to 220 stores in the UK – more than 200,000 sq ft of additional selling space, an increase of over 5% to its existing portfolio.

Waitrose said the new store locations will 'consolidate the supermarket’s position in its heartland areas and increase its presence in regions where it is currently under represented.'

The new stores include shops in Wales, Tyne and Wear, Lincolnshire and Warwickshire and Devon.

Waitrose managing director, Mark Price, said: 'There is a real weight of evidence that businesses that continue to invest during tough economic times fare much better when the economy begins to recover. Our new shops will help ensure Waitrose is in the best shape possible coming out of the recession.'