The Competition Commission has published a list of uses as part of its inquiry into the recent acquisition of 115 stores and other assets from WM Morrison Supermarkets by supermarket chain Somerfield.

The government's Office of Fair Trading , which referred the purchase to the commission, identified 22 mid-range  22 mid-range stores (between 280 and 1,400 sq metres) and one one-stop store (over 1,400 sq metres) which raised possible competition concerns, the commission said. It also noted one potential problem convenience store (below 280 sq metres), where it was possible barriers to entry might be sufficiently low to address the competition issue.

The issues raised include whether it is appropriate to distinguish between one-stop shops, mid-range stores and convenience stores in assessing the effect of the acquisition; and the relevant geographical markets, in particular the size of the local areas, for example with reference to the appropriate drive times to and from each store, that may be affected by the acquisition and the competition from other retail outlets within them.

The commission will look at any effects of the acquisition at national level, as well as the number of retail outlets competing with Somerfield in local areas.

"If the inquiry group.. considers that the acquisition may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition, it will consider whether and, if so, what remedies might be appropriate taking into account any customer benefits that might arise from the acquisition, and issue any remedies statement, should this be required, at about the time it publishes its provisional findings," it said.

But it stressed that no conclusions had yet been reached.