THE Office of Fair Trading looks set to force Tesco to sell a recently acquired store from the Co-operative Group in Slough.
The OFT has said that the acquisition could mean "higher prices, and lower quality and service, for local consumers". The store at Uxbridge Road, Slough, was sold to Tesco last August for an undisclosed sum.
Officials at the OFT have told Tesco that the matter may be referred to the Competition Commission unless it gives suitable undertakings to address competition concerns.
Tesco already has a supermarket in the area and a spokeswoman said it bought the second store to compensate for any loss of trade while the other one was being refurbished.
Britain's biggest supermarket chain has already indicated to the watchdog that it would be prepared to sell the acquired Co-op store to address possible concerns.
Penny Boys, OFT Executive Director, said: "Local consumer complaints prompted our investigation in this case. Our investigation confirms that Tesco's acquisition of the Slough Co-op store reduces the already limited number of competing one-stop-shops in this area.
"As a result, it raises local concerns similar to those covered in detail in the Competition Commission's investigation into the bids for Safeway. However, Tesco's proposed undertaking to sell ths store would address these concerns in a clear-cut manner."