Midcounties Co-operative Society has snapped up its third major independent retailer this year.

The society has taken over Hazlemere Foodhall in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, a one-store business owned by Chalfont Foodhalls.

Midcounties this week relaunched the store under 'The Co-operative' fascia, with new fittings and fixtures and seven new checkouts. The store will receive a full refurbishment next year. Meanwhile, a wider offer of locally sourced food and drink will go on sale.

Chalfont Foodhalls owner Eamon Maher said he had sold because of rising taxes. "Taxes are a massive weight on small businesses," he said. "A week after I sold the business, the government changed capital gains tax from 10% to 18%, so it was the right time to leave."

The store was supplied by Nisa-Today's and had been very profitable, he said, but added that he was pleased it had been taken over by Midcounties. "I wouldn't have wanted to sell the store to anyone else. Midcounties is an ethical company and seemed to take on board the values of the business."

Chalfont Foodhalls is 49th in The Grocer Top 50 ranking of leading independents, with a turnover of £9.3m and a pre-tax profit of £780,000 last year. Its profit margin - at 8.4% - was the highest among all 50 companies on the list.

Maher, a former board member at Nisa-Today's, said he had no plans to return to retailing.

The acquisition follows Midcounties Co-op's purchase of 10-store c-store chain Rusts and 150-strong CTN chain Stars News Shops in January.

Meanwhile, the Midlands Co-operative Society revealed this week it was planning to buy up more smaller societies.

Midlands, the UK's second-largest co-op, acquired Raunds Co-op two months ago and Ilkeston Co-op in November last year, but said it was hungry for more deals. "Following our mergers with Ilkeston and Raunds, it is hardly surprising that rumours should abound," said a spokeswoman. "We are always willing to enter into discussions with our neighbours."

This week, Midlands Co-op reported an 18% increase in trading profit to £11.1m for the half-year to 11 August on sales up 19% at £427m. Like-for-like sales rose 3.7%.