The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has decided not to refer the anticipated acquisition by UK supermarket group J Sainsbury of 14 stores from rival Wm Morrison Supermarkets to the Competition Commission.

Sainsbury’s announced in mid May that it had agreed to buy the 14 stores, which comprise 13 Safeway branded stores and one Morrisons store. Sainsbury’s said the stores are located primarily in the Midlands and the north of England.

 “When we announced the sale of Shaw’s, our US supermarket business on 26 March 2004, we indicated that we would use a proportion of the funds generated to develop further Sainsbury’s core UK supermarkets business to strengthen our market position and deliver future growth,” said chief executive Justin King when announcing the acquisition.

“These stores from Morrisons give us a great opportunity to increase our selling space in the UK by over 400,000 sq ft, a little under 3%. Such opportunities have become increasingly rare and we are delighted to secure these stores and look forward to introducing Sainsbury’s products and services to new areas and customers,” he added.