Reports of Sainsbury’s bid to buy the Nisa symbol group have gained extra weight after an Asian Trader source suggested the convenience store operator is close to signing an exclusivity deal which prohibits it from courting other buyers.

The source – who is close to the business – said Nisa has been searching for a buyer for a while now, with efforts increasing after their rivals Booker recently announced a partnership with Tesco.

It is believed that the Co-operative Group was in the running, who are considered by many retailers who have spoken to Asian Trader as ‘ideal buyers’ due to their similar membership structures and ethos.

But now Sainsbury’s seems on course to bagging the business for a reported £130m – a move first disclosed by the Guardian over the weekend.

The deal is far from done though, as Nisa is a member owned business, who between them operate over 2000 Nisa branded or affiliated stores.

If Nisa’s board recommends the offer they will need the support of over 50% of its retailer members.

Considering that Nisa’s genesis was as a collective to stand up to the pressure of the large supermarkets, it will be interesting to see how thousands of proud independent retailers will feel about a bid from such a larger rival.

What is certain though, is that Tesco and Sainsbury’s’ attempted takeover’s is a sign of a massive change in the convenience store landscape.

The competition for retail space on the high street has become more aggressive than ever, which poses the question of what the future holds for independent retailers?

And what we are asking is this: are the supermarkets more interested in prime retail locations rather than the retailers? Let us know what you think.