Costcutter has bought nine stores from The Co-op Group in the south east of England, which will be converted to its fascia and leased to independents.

"Costcutter already has a good presence in the south east and the acquisition of these sites will strengthen our offer," said MD Nick Ivel. "Our strategy continues to build on boosting store numbers and improving retailers' loyalty as well as working closely with our retailers to improve store standards."

Strong store recruitment has helped to boost Costcutter's sales, which were up 5.6% to £578m in the year ending April 2009.

Costcutter has added 200 stores in the past year, taking the total to 1,600. It said profits were "in line with forecasts", although it declined to release figures. However, it admitted profitability had dropped slightly, mainly due to investment in promotions.