A pilot store is being sought to test a Yeoman’s Croft franchise concept for farm shops.

Leisure and tourism company Deighton International is behind the scheme, targeting an estimated 232,496 farm premises in the UK. Director Philip Deighton said he estimated farm shops’ turnover already came to about £1bn a year and that a franchise system could boost that further.

“There are a great number of farm shops, but there is no national brand for them, and no consistency in opening times,” Deighton said.

He added that in order to maximise sales Yeoman’s Croft would fix a percentage split between local produce and nationally supplied goods for the stores, following trials at the pilot store.

He said: “We want Yeoman’s Croft to be more than just a fascia - the concept would cover range, merchandising, supply and marketing. With the support of the farming industry, we believe that Yeoman’s Croft has the potential of rapidly becoming a major niche retailer.”

Food and non-food suppliers, manufacturers and a farmer close to a large urban population are needed to take part in the pilot.