Julian Graves, the specialist snacks and ingredient retailer, plans to keep up the pace of store acquisitions, aiming to increase its estate by 17% with 50 new stores in 2007.

MD Nick Shutts said the company found it easier than some to get sites as it focused on slightly different demographic areas to conventional c-store operators.

He said: "We look for customers who are prosperous pensioners, wealthy achievers and secure families."

Shutts said that Julian Graves was set to break the 300-store barrier. Its 300th store is due to open next week in Chelmsford. The retailer plans to open 11 more before Christmas.

The company has also launched its first national TV advertising campaign, costing £1.5m. The first advert aired this week in a slot during Channel 4's You Are What You Eat. More peak-time ads will run

until mid-December.

Shutts said he hoped the ads would "increase brand awareness", notably as half of Julian Graves' stores were less than three years old.