The Nisa Members Association, the group responsible for blocking last year's proposed merger between Nisa-Today's and Costcutter, is planning to regionalise its activities.

It is considering splitting into 10 or 12 regions so members can swap ideas and mix "both socially and commercially", according to Mark Proudfoot, joint MD of the Proud­foot Group and NMA chair­man.

Regions could include Scotland, Northern Ireland, Newcastle and the north east/north west and a belt between Hull and Liverpool split into east and west.

Proudfoot also said the fate of restaurant chain Little Chef, which had to be saved from administration in December, illustrated that its opposition to the bid to merge Nisa and Costcutter had been justified. Little Chef had been financed by a leveraged private equity buyout, and the Nisa/Costcutter deal was to have been financed similarly by Kaupthing.

Meanwhile, Proudfoot has called for better packaging designs on Nisa-Today's own-label range Heritage. He claims in an NMA online forum that he has had to cut the price of Heritage Select Shortbread 450g from £2.49 to £1.49 because sales were "abysmal".

"Looking at the pack, it is the most insipid, unattractive ever," he said.