Independent discount chain B&M Retail has set its sights on more than doubling its estate within the next five years.

The retailer currently operates 48 B&M Bargains stores across the north of England - including eight recently acquired former Kwik Save stores - but "wants and has the funding for 100 stores within three to five years", said joint MD Simon Arora this week.

B&M is set to open its 49th store in Runcorn, Cheshire, in the next few weeks and is in advanced talks for a further six sites set to open in 2008. In total, it aims to open 12 stores next year.

The Kwik Save stores, bought two months ago after the chain collapsed, were all now open and trading profitably, said Arora.Acquiring them had saved 100 jobs and all staff had now received salary arrears.

To help B&M's expansion, Arora said the company would be "delighted to hear from independents who may wish to sell their store."

B&M Retail, 12th in The Grocer's Top 50 poll of independent retailers, recorded a turnover of £87m and a pre-tax profit of £2.7m in 2006. Arora said he was confident of a strong performance by B&M in the current year.

"For the nine months to the end of September, we are trading 63% up on last year. On a like-for-like basis, we are trading up 7.2%, against a backdrop of flat or negative like-for-like sales at some of our competitors."