The sale of Australian retailer Coles Group moved a step closer today (7 November) when the company's shareholders voted in favour of its sale to Wesfarmers.

Over 99% of votes from Coles investors approved the A$19.7bn (US$18.4bn) takeover, which was signed by the two companies back in July.

In September, Wesfarmers tweaked its offer after promising to bolster the bid if its share price dipped.

The deal will now move on to the Supreme Court in the state of Victoria for ratification, which is widely seen as a formality.

Coles, which effectively put itself up for sale back in February, attracted interest from potential trade and private equity buyers.

Wesfarmers, a diversified conglomerate that already operates Australia's largest DIY chain, faces the challenge of making up lost ground on Woolworths, the country's largest grocer.