Exclusive John Wood The world's largest foodservice company is looking to develop a national chain of c-stores in the UK. Compass Group, which has a worldwide turnover of £4.8bn and employs 190,000 people, has acquired Belleview, which operates the 25-strong Whistlestop chain of stores. Most of the Whistlestop stores are at main London railway stations or airports, although there are also several in high street sites in the City of London. In a statement Compass said Whistlestop will remain as an independently managed business within Select Service Partner, Compass Group's retail and travel arm. Uprendra Triverdi will remain on the board as managing director to run the business and Karim Lalani will be retained as a consultant. Commenting on the acquisition, Tony Monickendam, managing director of SSP UK, said: "Belleview, through its development of Whistlestop, is a respected niche operator of convenience stores for travellers. The acquisition will greatly enhance the offer we can provide within the travel sector and we are committed to investing in the national development of the brand." A spokeswoman said the primary focus would be acquiring sites at airport and railway stations outside the south east, rather than looking to increase Whistlestop's profile in high street locations. SSP UK already operates 50 Granada motorway service station sites in the UK and 400 Little Chef cafés. Previous attempts to introduce retail offers into Little Chef, most recently in Partnership with Mace last year, have failed to work. However the spokeswoman said she envisaged few synergies between the other operations and Whistlestop, other than in purchasing. {{NEWS }}