Costcutter is attempting to beat the credit crunch by going for growth through strategic acquisitions, member recruitment, new store development initiatives and retailer loyalty.

Bibby Line Group took a 51% stake in the group 12 months ago. Costcutter chairman Colin Graves described the period as “a year of consolidation”, but said Bibby is now making funds available for expansion.

Costcutter currently owns around 100 stores, 23 of which are run under licence by franchisee managers, but Graves told C-Store that he was looking to add to this number.

“We can build new stores from scratch, but we also expect furniture shops, clothes shops and pubs to close in increasing numbers, creating a big opportunity for us,” said Graves. 

“We can move very quickly as long as it is the right site. And the more stores we own, the better we can protect our volumes, as it means the multiples can’t buy them.”

A new head of store development will be appointed in the next few weeks, to spearhead a drive to define and brand a range of different store formats.

“We already have Costcutter Express for forecourts, but there may be room for three or four additional formats,” said Graves. “We already have all the elements in place, we just need to formalise the process.”

More than 120 retailers have joined the group since the start of May, although it has lost 60-70 stores in the past year. Some of these were victims of the economic situation but others were asked to leave the group due to a perceived lack of loyalty.