Midlands-based Blakemore is one of 14 wholesalers to have adopted the scheme, which is run in partnership with buying group Landmark.
Stuart Johnson, sales controller, admitted Blakemore was slow to take up the concept, developing just 19 stores between the launch of the scheme in 2002 and last summer. However, it had added a further 42 in the past six months, bringing its total number of Hot House stores to 61. He also said it planned to have 100 Hot House stores by the end of 2006 and add a further 100 next year.
The scheme was devised by Landmark in conjunction with wholesalers and suppliers to give independent retailers the benefits of disciplined retail management without the need to join a symbol group. It also gives them the opportunity to trade under the Lifestyle Express or Drinks Express fascias.
Raj Krishan, Landmark’s retail controller, said Blakemore’s commitment was part of Landmark’s wider drive to have 1,000 Hot House stores by the end of the year.