Off-licence business M&O Trading is poised to break into The Grocer's Top 50 ranking of independent grocery retailers after revealing plans to double its store numbers.

The retailer, which owns fascias including Mulberrys, The Offie and Hartleys, runs 22 stores mainly in the Brighton area, but is planning to increase this to 40 in the next few years.

In the past five weeks it has opened five off-licences in sites formerly run by Threshers and will open two more next week. It is also negotiating with the landlords of several other former Threshers stores.