Irish supermarket operator Superquinn told just-food today (28 August) that it has received takeover approaches from UK-based retailers.

However, the company emphasised that it has not placed itself on the block.

"Superquinn is not actively up for sale," a spokesperson for Superquinn said. "What has happened is that the advisers to the owners of Superquinn have been approached by some interested parties - apparently UK-based retailers."

Speculation has focused on the UK unit of Wal-Mart, with market watchers suggesting that Asda is most likely the interested party.

Rumours that Asda is eyeing entry into the Irish retail sector surfaced last month, when a spokesperson for the retail giant told just-food: "We have no plans to move into the Republic of Ireland… But never say never."

Asda was unavailable for further comment as just-food went to press.

Superquinn has 23 stores and a 7% share of the Irish grocery market.