Exclusive Costcutter plans to work with other railway franchise owners following the launch of its joint Connex convenience store chain this week. Costcutter managing director Colin Graves said: "The Connex project brings a new avenue for Costcutter to develop an offer in, and we will look at working with other rail operators nationwide to extend our presence." Costcutter has taken responsibility for merchandising, range and logistics for the new chain of open plan Connex stores which was launched in Gillingham this week. Graves said: "Everything is rolled into one with the Connex stores. You have a limited Costcutter offer tailored towards the demands of forecourts, with news and magazines as well as a Post Office and a ticket office." The launch took place six months behind schedule after Connex's loss of its South Central franchise to rival operator Govia threw existing experiments into chaos. Connex had just started trials of ticket office/convenience stores with Costcutter at its South Central Cooden Beach station in Sussex, and with Spar at its Leatherhead station when it heard Govia had beaten it to the franchise. Govia now plans to develop those existing convenience partnerships during its term of franchise. And Connex is to work with Costcutter to develop the new open plan Connex branded chain at more sites in its 179 station South East franchise. E-Connex md Olivier Jenoc said: "The new store has now opened in Gillingham, as part of the refurbishment of the whole station. It is positioned as a Connex shop, with Costcutter listed on a menu board of partners, which include the Post Office." He added that the new Connex concept would not be rolled out to other stations until April at the earliest. {{NEWS }}