Costcutter has purchased seven stores from c-store operator Nearby Stores, which went into administration last month.

The group said the acquisitions marked the beginning of a strategic growth plan for 2009 and said it aimed to make further acquisitions in the year ahead.

The stores, all in the south west of England where Costcutter already has strong presence, will be converted to the brand and sold on to independent retailers operating under a Costcutter-owned lease.

Managing director Nick Ivel said the purchases would strengthen the group’s position in the market place. “Recruitment of independent retailers is currently buoyant, with more than 200 stores joining in the past eight months, and these additional sites will increase our brand awareness even further,” he added.

Last month Southern Co-operatives snapped up 13 sites from Nearby Stores.