Today’s Group is planning to increase its network of symbol stores by 50% in the next two years, and to create “an industry-leading foodservice business” as MD Bill Laird signalled its intent as a standalone business.

The wholesale buying group, which split from Nisa in January, already has one of the fastest growing symbol networks in the UK today, adding 110 stores to its symbol estate to total 337 sites in 2011.

It is now targeting 500 stores by 2014 across its four symbol fascias – Today’s Extra, Today’s Local, Today’s Express and Today’s Local Drinks – launched in November 2010 following the demise of Threshers.

Today’s Group MD Bill Laird also promised to accelerate growth in its retail club scheme. After adding 300 stores it now has 1,406 retail club members.

And speaking to more than 200 members and suppliers at Today’s 25th anniversary conference, held at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas last month, Laird also promised to leverage Today’s UK-wide member network to “create an industry- leading foodservice business”.

Combining Today’s Group members, the buying group is the thirdlargest foodservice operator after Brakes and 3663, with a turnover of more than £1bn.

Laird also pledged to “make IT a game changer in the way we operate and interface with members and suppliers.”

“In a shifting economic landscape, I believe the decisions taken during the last 12 months will ensure we are both fit for purpose now and for the future,” Laird added.

“I am convinced Today’s Group will be at the forefront of our sector, influencing the market and acting as catalyst for change that others will follow. We are a new company, in a new location, with a great mix of old and new members, an ambitious and highly supportive board.”