Costcutter has added nine stores to its membership by acquiring a group of former Co-op stores in the South East of England.

The stores are to be converted to the Costcutter brand and sold to independent retailers operating under a Costcutter head lease.

Costcutter managing director Nick Ivel said: "Recruitment of independent retailers to the group is currently buoyant, having recruited more than 200 stores in the past 12 months, and these additional sites will increase our brand awareness even further."

The group reported sales up 5.6% year on year in April, despite increased competition from multiples and discounters. The current financial year also started strongly, with sales up 7.4% in the first four weeks and Costcutter's best ever sales week of more than £12m.

Ivel added: "We have a package which is even more attractive for retailers given the current climate. Our strategy continues to build on boosting store numbers and improving retailers' loyalty as well as working closely with retailers to improve store standards."