As Costcutter and Palmer & Harvey confirmed their new tie up this week, it emerged that Nisa is already taking steps to recoup the £500m in lost business.

The Grocer can reveal that since the beginning of the year, Nisa has been supplying about 20 c-stores in England and Scotland owned by Martin McColl, the UK’s biggest independent convenience chain, with a number of lines including its Heritage own label range. The Grocer understands suppliers were informed of the trial in January at a supplier conference held in Dubai.

Although still only in the trial stage, if the contract is made permanent and rolled out to a large number of stores, it could be worth an estimated £200m to Nisa.

Nisa and Martin McColl confirmed the trial was taking place in Martin McColl c-stores and claimed it was going well.

The move comes as Martin McColl continues to expand its c-store estate and convert its traditional CTNs, which trade under the Martins fascia, to c-stores.

Last December, chairman James Lancaster said he planned to extend its c-store fascia McColl’s to 800 stores in the next three years. It currently has just over 650 c-stores.

“Convenience will be the growth driver of our business. We want to acquire more independent c-stores, convert our CTNs to c-stores and add a bigger fresh and chilled range into stores,” he said at the time.

Meanwhile, Martin McColl has continued its strong run of results by posting a sharp hike in profits for 2012. The Grocer’s latest ranking of the UK’s Top 50 independent grocery retailers shows its pre-tax profits rose 63% to £7m in the year to 25 November, while sales rose 5% to £844.7m. It also increased its estate by six stores to 1,269.