The Costcutter fascia is set to make its debut in Africa through a joint venture between three UK retailers, The Grocer can reveal.

Sunstar Group, Thothaal Group and Payless Group each of which own a number of Costcutter stores in London will open a 3,000 sq ft Costcutter-branded convenience store close to Marrakesh airport in Morocco next month.

It is the first of five stores the three parties hope to open together over the next year in the country, according to Syed Ishrat Husain, operations manager at Sunstar Group. They plan to open five more a year thereafter.

The retailers had chosen Morocco because the concept of convenience stores was totally new there, said Husain. The country's grocery scene was currently dominated by supermarkets and very small shops, he said.

"In all the European countries, everybody's already made money and gone," he said. "Morocco's not been discovered yet for stores of this size."

The store will have 12 staff and will sell about 100 product lines from the UK as well as fresh fruit and vegetables, locally made products and leading Moroccan brands. It will not sell alcohol.

The retailers were also considering bringing products back from Morocco to sell in its UK Costcutter stores, said Husain. "At the moment we're in the process of learning. When you've settled, you have more influence."

The retailers were also looking further afield, he said, and once the Morocco store was operational, expected to open stores in Pakistan, where Thothaal MD Majed Ismail Chaudhry and Sunstar chairman Najib Mohammad Khan are originally from.

They were confident the concept would work in Pakistan because convenience stores were well-established in the form of small, independent businesses, said Husain, adding that the project had the full support of Costcutter HQ.

Currently Costcutter only has stores in the UK, Ireland and Poland.