Costcutter could double in size, CEO Darcy Willson-Rymer has claimed, after confirming plans to form a joint venture with Palmer & Harvey worth £5bn.

His ambitious prediction came as the symbol group unveiled details of its alliance, The Buyco, this week.

“Costcutter can double in size through a combination of non-affiliated retailers joining us, and through potential acquisitions in the future,” Willson-Rymer said. “I want the convenience market to remain one that is thriving and has more independent retailers than multiple operators.”

As revealed by The Grocer last week, the tie-up will see P&H divesting its retail symbol operation, comprising the Mace, SuperShop and Your Store fascias, to Costcutter. With 2,500 stores, Costcutter will leapfrog Bestway, Spar, Musgrave GB and Landmark Wholesale to become the second-biggest symbol operation in the UK behind Premier.

P&H, meanwhile, will focus on wholesale distribution and has secured an eight-year distribution agreement with Costcutter to serve its stores, ending Costcutter’s 20-year-plus relationship with Nisa.

It has also signed a lease on a new depot in Northern Ireland to allow it to serve retailers in the province.

Willson-Rymer, who joined last September, said his five-year strategy for Costcutter had been completed aftermeeting 400 Costcutter retailers. “To create maximum value, we must have our own buying power.”