Asco, the new chain of food stores which opened its first store on a former Woolworths site in Warrington, Cheshire, this month, has set its sights on customers who shop "little and often".

The company, which bills itself as the "real alternative" also announced plans to open 30 stores within the next three years, with 11 of these to be trading by mid-2010.

Asco managing director Dave Laney said: "Our customers will come from every walk of life, but those people who work in or visit town centres and like to shop little and often are likely to form the core of our business.

"We plan to offer customers an alternative when shopping for their daily essentials which will give them a refreshing and pleasant change."

Asco will be supplied by AF Blakemore and aims to work with local suppliers in its stores.

Laney said he hoped to set up stores in town centres where many properties were available for reasonable prices. "As a result of the recession, there are many retail properties in prime town centre locations available on good terms," he added. "It gives a start-up business such as Asco the chance to establish a foothold in the marketplace."