Julian Graves, the specialist snacks and ingredients retailer, is set to offer fresh produce in its stores for the first time.

The retailer, which has 315 stores, has just opened a flagship 2,000sq ft store in Cheltenham which will sell produce such as blueberries, cranberries and garlic alongside its usual offer of dried fruits and nuts.

If successful, the store will become a blueprint for future outlets.

"Healthy, natural food has always been at the heart of our business, so high quality fresh produce will complement our existing product range," said chief executive Nick Shutts.

The retailer, which is owned by Icelandic retail predator Baugur, is planning to open further dual-branded Julian Graves and Whittard of Chelsea stores this year. Baugur also owns the tea and coffee specialist and has already opened nine dual-branded stores. It also sells Whittard of Chelsea products in other Julian Graves stores.

"The dual-branded stores are trading very successfully as they allow both brands the opportunity to operate from bigger units while achieving economies of scale," said Alison Miles, group marketing director for Julian Graves and Whittard of Chelsea.

Julian Graves' first

national television advertising campaign, launched in September last year, had been "hugely successful in helping drive up sales", Miles added. The campaign will be repeated this year.