Asco Stores is planning a raft of store openings, despite the threat of a winding-up petition.

The fledgling supermarket chain, which currently has just one store, in Warrington, is planning to open stores in Formby and Newcastle-under-Lyme next month. A store in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, is said to be "close to completion", while a site in Doncaster has been purchased.

"The recruitment and shop work are well under way," confirmed MD Dave Laney. "There is a large amount of refurbishment work to be done in Doncaster, so no opening date has been decided yet."

Store openings in Manchester and Leeds were also possible, he added.

The expansion plans come despite the threat of a winding-up petition lodged against Asco by signage company The Evolve Group, which claims the retailer has failed to pay a £25,621 bill. Laney refused to comment on the petition.

Asco will not be opening a store in Lancaster, however, despite local media reports linking the retailer to the redevelopment of the city's market. The local council which was rumoured to have offered Asco a £400,000 golden handshake to develop the site has now voted to save the market from closure.

Laney also admitted that the Warrington store, which opened in December, was "not working to its potential". He said the store would be revamped in the next few weeks with a new layout and refreshed product range.

"We are a new business and are climbing a steep learning curve," he said. "The people of Warrington have been very patient with us and we want to reward that by giving them an offer they really need."

When Asco Stores launched in August last year, Laney laid out plans to open 25 to 30 stores of up to 100,000 sq ft in the north of England within the next three years. At the time, Asco said it hoped to open three stores by December last year, one in Warrington and others in St Helens and Runcorn.