Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland has admitted the company will consider snapping up any unwanted Somerfield stores should The Co-operative Group buy the UK convenience retailer.

Bolland today (5 June) confirmed Morrisons’ interest in “individual” Somerfield stores but insisted Morrisons is not in the race to buy the whole company.

“If there are individual stores at the end of the process, we would take a critical look at whether the stores made sense, were at the right price and in the right location,” Bolland said.

The Co-op is in talks to buy Somerfield, which runs over 900 stores in the UK.

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 groups owners – a consortium including property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, Apax Partners and Barclays Capital – are believed to be looking for up to GBP2.5bn (US$4.9bn) for the chain.