In March chairman Kevin Threlfall said the group would acquire 100 new stores, with 20 added this year, and 40 in the two subsequent years.
But in its interim results it revealed that the number of c-stores had dropped to 867, a net reduction of three since March.
Threlfall said the group's work on upgrading its supply chain with automatic replenishment from the group's three distribution depots had improved delivery to stores significantly.
He said the "modest" store refurb programme had generated the optimum return, and the group would now commit Â£4m to refurbish 100 stores in the current year, and would accelerate the programme to 150 in 2003.
Despite the falling store numbers, turnover for the six months to June 29 was up 2% compared with the same period last year to Â£473.1m. Pre-tax profit was up 22% to Â£18.8m.
Margins increased from 4.8% to 5.4%, and like-for-like sales were up 4.3%.