Tiptree: Asda deal for Co-op store cleared by OFT

A DEAL for retail giant Asda to lease the East of England Co-op supermarket in Tiptree has received the green light from regulators.

The Office of Fair Trading has ruled that the agreement, first announced last month, does not qualify for investigation.

As a result, the deal is expected to be completed later this year, with the store closing for a short period before reopening under the Asda name.

The East of England Co-operative Society will retain ownership of the building, with Asda becoming its tenant, and the Co-operative Travel branch located within the store will continue to be run by the society, with plans for it to operate from temporary premises within the car park while the store is refurbished.

When the deal was announced in August, Maria McGettigan, group general manager – HR for the East of England Co-op, said the protection of employment for staff had been “a key part” of the talks with Asda.

“The loyal service colleagues have given to the society is sincerely appreciated and we will give them every support as the arrangements progress,” she added.

The society said it “constantly” reviewed its store locations and, following the Tiptree deal, would continue to operate more than 130 supermarkets and food stores across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

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Chris Martin, Asda’s senior property communications manager, said: “This is an exciting new development for ASDA in Tiptree.”