US retailer A&P will have to sell six New York stores following its acquisition of regional supermarket chain Pathmark as a condition of winning regulatory approval for the deal.

The Federal Trade Commission has asked A&P to sell five Waldbaum's supermarkets and one Pathmark outlet by 10 January.

"A&P and Pathmark are supermarket competitors in the highly concentrated areas of Staten Island and Shirley, Long Island, New York," said Jeffrey Schmidt, director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.

"Absent the relief provided by the Commission's consent order, consumers in these areas likely would face higher prices and lower levels of service when shopping for their weekly groceries."

The FTC order also prohibits A&P and Pathmark, for 10 years and without prior notice to the FTC, from owning or leasing interests in any property that has operated as a supermarket within the prior six months in either Staten Island or Shirley.

A&P expects to complete the US$1.2bn acquisition of Pathmark in the first few days of December.