High street giant Marks and Spencer was on Thursday reported to be considering entering the multi-billion pound battle for leading supermarket chain Safeway.

The Daily Mail, citing financial sources, claimed M&S advisers Morgan Stanley have been studying Safeway's network of stores to see how many could be changed into the M&S food format.

M&S declined to comment last week on speculation it may bid for Safeway but several other parties including fashion tycoon Philip Green have already expressed an interest in the food group.