The People’s Supermarket the co-operative retailer that opened in a blaze of publicity last year promising to offer an alternative retail model has joined Nisa-Today’s.

The surprise move is likely to spark renewed claims that it has sold out after allegations in March from independents that it was no different from any other retailer.

The People’s Supermarket said that being a member of Nisa would allow it to benefit from the group’s buying power and expand its local sourcing network.

As part of the membership, Nisa is also helping The People’s Supermarket to work with suppliers to source the best possible deals on new refrigeration units and store development equipment.

Its store development team and business development managers were also helping develop the retailer’s offering to ensure it provided a genuine alternative to the multiples.

The People’s Supermarket opened in June last year and is run by volunteers. By saving on staff costs, it claims it can compete on price with the multiples and give fairer prices to suppliers.

Nisa-Today’s group sales director Andrew Mouse said there were clear synergies between the two organisations. “The People’s Supermarket isn’t a typical Nisa member, but it shares our values in the importance of local retailers and the relationships they form with their community,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, it is important to work together not only businesses but communities as well to weather a tough economic environment, and Nisa will provide every possible support to ensure continued trading success.”

It is the latest in a string of new members to sign up to Nisa-Today’s. In recent weeks, discounters 99p Stores and Poundstretcher have both joined the buying group.

Nisa-Today’s is to launch a second TV advertising campaign next month. Its first campaign earlier this year was watched by 39.5 million viewers.