It's blue and white and coming to a high street near you. Meet grocery's newest supermarket chain: Asco Stores.

The retailer will open its first store, in Warrington, in mid-October. Two further stores are planned to open, in Runcorn and St Helens, before Christmas, and it has set itself the target of opening 25 to 30 stores in the north in the next three years.

In what is thought to be the first launch of a regional supermarket chain since Welsh retailer CK's Supermarkets in 1988, Asco will have a blue fascia with white lettering and the strapline 'a real alternative', following research that found shoppers were looking for supermarkets beyond the big four.

MD Edward Ward and operations manager Dave Laney would not comment on whether Asco's name was a combination of Asda and Tesco. "We want to leave it as a bit of a mystery," Laney said. "People can make up their own minds. We're not taking on the other supermarkets, we're going to be an alternative. For example, we'll be offering products from suppliers you may not see in other supermarkets."

Asco would not undercut supermarket prices, but would compete by selling £1 and 99p lines he added. It was also keen to avoid bogofs and would focus on 'link sales' such as free eggs with a packet of bacon. It plans to concentrate initially on providing a full grocery offer, but may extend to non-food in the future.

The first three stores will be between 11,000 sq ft and 26,000 sq ft and located in town centre, but subsequent stores will be out-of-town. Asco also has an option on a 60,000 sq ft site in Sheffield and is considering sites in Bolton, Wigan, Darlington and Leeds.

"We've worked in retail a long time and lived through the last recession," Laney added. "Lots of suppliers have said 'be brave and go for it because when the recession has finished you'll be raring to go'."

Asco is currently advertising for a number of head office and store positions.