More than 9,200 employees at supermarket chain Safeway were told that their jobs are safe following a £260m sell-off yesterday.
Morrison, which bought Safeway in a £3bn deal last year, confirmed the sale of 114 of its smaller Safeway Compact stores and a distribution depot.
Somerfield has bought 63 of the outlets. The remaining 51, which have been bought in a joint venture by Barclays and property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz, will be leased to Somerfield – which has pledged there will be no job cuts.
Steve Back, chief executive at Somerfield, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for Somerfield to grow. There will be no redundancies.”
The company plans to overhaul at least 35 shops in time for Christmas. It will transform the rest at a rate of 10 a week, with the aim of having them all converted into Somerfield stores by March next year.
It will cost at least £15m to change the shops, which saw sales last year of around £860m.