Hull based c-store chain Jacksons is aiming to double its size in five years and is pumping £5.5m into its store portfolio over the next two years. The 95-strong chain, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan that will "effectively double" the Jacksons estate in five years, said md Angus Oughtred. While the "single store acquisition route got us from 26 stores in 1993 to 95 in 2001, we would consider a group acquisition if the right opportunity arose," said Oughtred. The group would also "consider a move outside its geographical area and infill back". Jacksons' central distribution centre in Melton, Hull, can support up to 200 stores. The current trading area stretches as far south as Leicester and as far west as Halifax, with chilled and frozen distribution handled by Nisa and ambient handled by Jacksons from Melton. The group will also spend £5.5m on a radical refurbishment programme to bring the entire estate up to the standard of its award winning store at Princes Avenue, Hull. Stores will be placed into one of four "clusters" or categories, according to the socio-demographics of their catchment areas, and refitted accordingly. The cluster system is the result of a year's research with Experian and enables the chain to tailor everything, from the product mix to instore background music and marketing approaches to suit the needs of the customers visiting each store. A strong emphasis on service initiatives, fresh food and a more imaginative approach to wine retailing than other c-sector operators is driving top line growth at the company, said trading director Richard Lancaster. But buoyant like for like sales growth has not been achieved at the expense of the bottom line, he stressed: "Anyone can deliver great like for likes­if they're giving it away." {{NEWS }}