Asda agreed to buy the gas station business of The Co-operative Group in a deal valued at about £600 million ($701 million) as it expands into Britain’s convenience retailing sector.

The U.K.’s third-largest grocer will acquire 132 gas filling and grocery retail sites nationwide, three of which are development plots, according to a statement. About 2,300 Co-op employees will transfer to Asda as part of the deal which will be funded with £438 million of cash and bank financing.

“We see convenience as a significant growth opportunity,” said Mohsin Issa, one half of the brother duo who took control of Asda last year. He added that the acquisition “forms part of our long-term ambition to become the U.K.’s second largest supermarket.”

Asda historically missed out on the convenience retailing boom when rivals such as Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc were opening hundreds of smaller stores in neighborhoods across the country. The chain’s Asda on the Move stores are an attempt to access the higher margin convenience market but it’s still a minnow compared to rivals. The Issa brothers are trying to expand more quickly through acquisition, recently losing out on a bid to buy struggling convenience-store chain McColl’s Retail Group Plc to rival Morrisons.

The sibling duo are familiar with the gas station sector as alongside private equity group TDR Capital they also control EG Group Ltd., one of the largest independent fuel retailers in Europe.

If Britain’s antitrust regulator rules that some of the sites Asda is buying from the Co-op compromise competition at a local level it could force them to sell off the locations.

Asda said it looked forward to discussing the transaction with the Competition and Markets Authority and will of “course cooperate with them,” in an emailed statement.

The Co-op will reinvest proceeds from the sale, which should complete in the fourth quarter, in its convenience stores and reduce its debt, the grocer said in a separate statement. The deal represents 5 percent of Co-op’s retail estate and is in line with the supermarket’s strategy to move away from operating petrol forecourts.

The move comes at a time when supermarkets are under pressure to keep prices affordable for shoppers despite the highest rate of inflation in the U.K. in four decades. Sales are slipping at many U.K. grocers while German discounters Aldi and Lidl attract more consumers with their own-label brands and cheaper offering.

Asda was among supermarkets criticized in recent months over its petrol prices. The grocer slashed the price of unleaded and diesel fuel last month after motoring groups called supermarket prices “artificially high”. The criticism on petrol prices was uncharacteristic for Asda, considered to be the most value-focused of Britain’s “big four” grocers.