High-profile independent retailer Jonathan James has teamed up with Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail as part of a 10-year franchise agreement.

As part of the tie-up Conviviality will franchise 36 of the stores it acquired from GT News earlier this month to James.

James, who is a former chairman of the ACS and ran Spar and Budgens c-stores in Cambridgeshire, plans to grow his number of stores within Conviviality to 100.

“With over 600 stores Conviviality is truly championing local off-licence led convenience on the high street,” he said.

“It’s this unique strategy which makes it stand out from the crowd, attract loyal customers and most importantly, make franchisees more money. It was important for me to join a collaborative brand that works in partnership with their franchisees. Their innovative approach to customer engagement is also appealing with leading edge initiatives such as a new mobile loyalty app and the forthcoming click and collect service,” James added.

Conviviality Retail chief operating officer Amanda Jones said: “With an impressive track record in the independent and convenience sector, we are very pleased to welcome another experienced retailer to Conviviality Retail. Jonathan James is a highly skilled operator and we are looking forward to growing our brands with him.”

Conviviality Retail bought independent CTN operator GT News in a deal worth £6m earlier this month. It had 37 stores in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, of which 17 traded under the Spar fascia.

James originally owned six stores in Cambridgeshire but stripped back his estate in recent years to focus on the development of a new eco business park. Last January, he sold his flagship 7,000 sq ft Budgens store in Soham, Cambridgeshire, to Asda, leaving him with just one store.

His deal with Conviviality Retail is the second major franchise agreement announced by the company in three months. In November, Conviviality named Scottish co-op society Scotmid as its exclusive Scottish franchise.