Costcutter has kicked out nearly one tenth of its members this year, but is still close to securing its 1,000th store in the UK. MD Colin Graves said 78 stores had the franchise removed for "either financial reasons or poor support of our organisation and its purchasing requirements". But Graves said membership currently stood at 973 stores and the 1,000th store would open in February. Costcutter is also expanding in the Irish Republic and in Poland. Graves said the Irish franchisee, Barrys of Mallow, would have 48 stores trading under the Costcutter banner by the end of February and that 52 stores were trading under the fascia in Poland. Graves said prospects in Poland were particularly promising because the government was introducing legislation to protect smaller stores against hypermarkets. Graves also revealed details of Costcutter's company owned stores. In the south west it owns Primex which operates 21 stores. Ebor operates 20 stores in Yorkshire. He intended to grow these numbers by 10-12 stores a year. Graves said: "These stores have added a new dimension to our operation. We can utilise them to test how store operations work for independents and at the same time work with suppliers to enhance our offering." All the stores' scanning systems are linked to Costcutter's head office and it can provide suppliers with weekly sales data. Graves said he believed Costcutter was not getting a fair share of suppliers' promotional budgets compared with Nisa-Today's. He pointed out that Costcutter accounted for 38.7% of all volume shipped out of Nisa-Today's Scunthorpe distribution centre, and said suppliers should take this into account when allocating their spending. Graves stressed the marketing and advertising opportunities available through Costcutter, including Sky and regional TV advertising three times a year, colour ads in The Sun 17 times a year, and Costcutter Digital Radio. - Kellogg was named supplier of the year at Costcutter's annual supplier awards ceremony. {{NEWS }}