Costcutter is looking to expand its franchising empire further into Europe and into the Far East.

Managing director Colin Graves revealed to C-Store that he was currently looking at franchising opportunities in the Far East, Malaysia, Cyprus and Spain.

The symbol group currently has 1,355 stores in the UK, 70 in Ireland, 60 in Poland and one in Belgium. Graves would not put a figure on the number of outlets he envisaged in each new location. He estimated it would take another two years before Costcutter entered the new countries, saying: “We are a long way off yet. We are still in the early stages.

“The first thing we are doing is researching the population, the competition, the source of supply and then the legal implications, in that order.” Graves said he was working with consultants in the retail trade in those countries and there was a team of about six people within Costcutter working simultaneously on various projects. “We’ll take it as it comes. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Operating overseas is not as easy as it looks.”