Fledgling supermarket chain Asco Stores is facing legal action after being accused of failing to pay a supplier.

The Warrington-based retailer has had a winding-up petition lodged against it by the supplier, who claims Asco has failed to pay a £25,000 bill due three months ago.

It has also been revealed that Asco Stores has had five separate County Court judgments lodged against it since January including three in March amounting to £19,443 in total.

An Asco spokesman said the company did not feel it was appropriate to comment on payment issues, "particularly when we are in legal dispute with a small number of suppliers, details of which we believe would be unfair to make public".

The business has faced a string of problems since launching in August last year. It was due to open its first store in October but this was delayed until December. Two further stores, in Runcorn and St Helens, were earmarked to open by December but have not yet done so. It also had an EPoS failure on its opening day and its managing director, Edward Ward, stepped down in January.

However, the retailer is still on the acquisition trail and is understood to be close to securing two new sites. It has also been linked to the redevelopment of Lancaster Market, with local reports suggesting it had been offered a £400,000 golden handshake to open a store there. However, following a petition signed by 13,000 local residents, as well as a Facebook campaign supported by more than 5,000 people, Lancaster City Council has deferred its decision on the site to consider alternative options.