The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched an investigation into the sale of 33 convenience stores owned by Top 50 Indies operator Alfred Jones (Warrington).

Earlier this month Alfred Jones agreed the deal with One Stop Stores, a subsidiary of Tesco, and the OFT said it is considering whether it would lead to a substantial lessening of competition within any markets in the UK.

It has requested written representations about any competition or public interest issues to arrive by August 2.

The deal covers 33 of Alfred Jones 70 convenience stores, but none of its forecourt sites are involved.

Alfred Jones is ranked 14th in the Top 50 and now has 17 forecourts having disposed of one since the Top 50 was compiled earlier this year.

Last week Alfred Jones revealed that pre-tax profits slumped 98.2% from £793,000 to £14,000 on flat sales of £103.9m in the year to April 29, 2012.

Managing director Tom Calderbank said margins “suffered” as a result of increased competition and the fuel market had been “exceptionally volatile”.