Cooltrader has opened its 50th store, in Buckley, Clwyd, and said it would press ahead with plans to open 100 more, despite flat like-for-like sales.
Sales at the value retailer have risen by about 5% over the past three months year-on-year, as a result of four new store openings. But like-for-likes had remained flat, as the retailer felt the effect of increased competition from the big supermarkets.
“A year ago we were running at plus 20%, so over two years we are outperforming most retailers,” said MD Andrew Errington. “But there is no doubt this sector has been severely affected by the supermarkets reacting to the discounters.”
Cooltrader had a niche in the market because its stores were on high streets and “there is not much grocery left on the high street any more”, he added.
“We are the Ryanair of the high street we offer the cheapest food, the cleanest and brightest shops and the best customer service in town,” he said. “But don’t expect us to redeem vouchers, create a Clubcard or inflate prices in order to mislead the customer with bogofs.”
Cooltrader, which was founded by Iceland CEO Malcolm Walker in 2001 after he was ousted from the frozen specialist, plans to open the new stores at a rate of about 10 a year.