Costcutter is to open more licensed stores as it looks to accelerate its growth - and the symbol group has drafted in former Co-operative Group food retail boss Malcolm Hepworth to help it achieve those plans.
The group's founder, Colin Graves, said that 100 of its 130 company-owned stores were now licensed to independent retailers and he was keen to see that model playing a bigger role in its future development, although it remained committed to its existing symbol group arrangement.
But Graves said the licensing arrangement worked well for independents and ensured Costcutter would be able to secure the best sites in future.
Although he would not be drawn on numbers, he said Costcutter had ambitious plans and funding in place to acquire more stores for licensing. But he stressed that he would not be paying over the odds for sites and said prices for stores had calmed down after hitting a peak in recent years.
Graves also quashed rumours that he was selling up. "I am not going anywhere. This is still my baby and I want to continue."
To help advise the cost management on acquisitions and ranging, Graves said Hepworth had become a non-executive director, initially working for two days a month.
Julian Hunt