UK supermarket chain Asda is reportedly ready to enter the Northern Ireland market via a deal to acquire the 13 former Safeway stores there.

According to the BBC, the Wal-Mart-owned chain is "on the verge" of signing a deal to acquire the stores, which are currently owned by UK supermarket group Morrison, which merged with Safeway last year.

Morrisons is believed to not have much long-term interest in its Northern Ireland operations.