The Co-operative Group is believed to be considering selling some of the Somerfield stores it will acquire if its bid for the company proves successful.
The Co-op is currently negotiating with flagging retailer Somerfield over the purchase of its 900 strong portfolio of stores.
Talks between the two companies began after the Co-op emerged as the only potential suitor to table a formal bid for the whole Somerfield business, which was put up for sale in January.
The UK press has reported that the Co-op is currently in the early stages of talks with rival supermarket groups, including Morrisons and Asda, with an eye to selling on some of the stores it will acquire.
Asda and Morrisons declined to comment on such speculation while the Co-op was unavailable for comment as just-food went to press.
Which stores the Co-op would consider selling remains unclear.