Cooltrader, the freezer chain set up by former Iceland boss Malcolm Walker, has almost doubled its store base with the acquisition of West Midlands chain Poundfreeze.

The eight-store deal boosts Cooltrader’s estate to 20 stores, said buying director Andy Errington. “The stores are remarkably similar to ours. We’ll probably keep trading them under the Poundfreeze fascia rather than converting them.”

Set up by Walker and other members of Iceland’s senior management team in July 2001, Cooltrader recently secured funding from private equity house Gresham to open 40 stores across the UK over the next four years. Further deals were in the pipeline, and any stores fitting Cooltrader’s criteria were potential targets, including Iceland stores, said Errington. “We’re talking about busy, high street locations and stores of between 1,500 and 3,500sq ft.”

Cooltrader keeps costs to a minimum by stocking a limited range (700 to 800 lines) and avoiding expensive advertising campaigns, he said. Frozen food accounts for about 65% of sales.

Poundfreeze, which was set up eight years ago, is currently run by father and son Chris and Anton Taylor. Anton, who will work for Cooltrader after the acquisition, will take a financial stake in the enlarged business.