Martin McColl has unveiled ambitious plans to extend its McColl’s convenience fascia by nearly a quarter to 800 stores within the next three years.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer, chairman James Lancaster said the chain planned to continue converting CTNs as well as acquiring new c-stores to boost the number of stores under its McColl’s fascia from the current 653.

The chain, which boasts 1,268 c-stores and CTNs in total, has been converting c-stores at a rapid rate following a management buyout in 2005, when it had just 314 c-stores, but 993 CTNs.

“Convenience will be the growth driver of the business,” Lancaster said. “We want to acquire more independent c-stores, convert our CTNs to c-stores and add a bigger fresh and chilled range into stores. We are happy with our c-store offer so we are putting it in our CTN stores and rebranding them as McColl’s. We’re also adding food and wine.”

The business has increased its retail space by 11% since 2005, with convenience now accounting for 61%. Its average c-store is 1,500 sq ft, while its CTNs are around 900 sq ft.

Lancaster said that 70% of its stores were “ideally situated” in neighbourhood and village locations. Some 413 had Post Office services, more than 80% offered home news delivery, 570 sold alcohol and 800 had cash machines.

“I’m really excited about our food and wine model which is working well and gives us significant scope to further convert our newsagents into c-stores,” he said.