A record 234 new members joined Nisa last year, according to the buying group.

The 7% increase adds 487 new stores to Nisa and will bring in more than £115m in turnover.

The increase was down to a strong recruitment strategy involving trade press ads, a dedicated micro-site and direct mail, said group sales director Andrew Mouse.

“To announce such fantastic recruitment figures in such a difficult economic trading environment is truly a reflection of the service Nisa can offer independent retailers, as well as the hard work and dedication of the whole team at Nisa,” he said.

The increase comes despite the recent loss of three high-profile members. David Sands was sold to Scotmid in January, a month later Ugo fell into administration and was sold to Poundstretcher as part of a pre-pack deal, while Harry Tuffins was sold to Midcounties Co-op last week.