Budgens retailer and former ACS chairman Jonathan James is to take over 36 of the 37 former GT News stores recently acquired by Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail on a franchisee basis.

The stores are based in Yorkshire and the East Midlands, with 17 of them currently trading as Spar. Conviviality paid £6m for the sites earlier this month, and Jonathan has signed a 10-year agreement to run them as franchises, with the c-stores likely to be switched to the Bargain Booze Select Convenience banner. The trading platform for the CTN-based outlets, which trade as GT News, is still under consideration.

Jonathan said: “With over 600 stores Conviviality is truly championing local off-licence led convenience on the high street. It’s this unique strategy which makes it stand out from the crowd, attract loyal customers and most importantly, make franchisees more money. It was important for me to join a collaborative brand that works in partnership with their franchisees.

“Its innovative approach to customer engagement is also appealing, with leading edge initiatives such as a new mobile loyalty app and the forthcoming click-and-collect service.”

As well as the margin on sales, Bargain Booze franchisees earn bonuses based on performance, which can see retailers receive up to 3,500 free company shares and a quarterly over-rider payment of up to 1% of wholesale spend. There’s also a half-year growth incentive payment of 0.25% of wholesale spend and an additional 1% rebate on wholesale spend for stores hitting certain criteria.

Conviviality Retail chief operating officer Amanda Jones said: “With an impressive track record in the independent and convenience sector, we are very pleased to welcome another experienced retailer to Conviviality Retail. Jonathan James is a highly skilled operator and we are looking forward to growing our brands with him.

“Following an increase in average Franchisee profits of 10% last year, we’re committed to developing incentives to attract the very best retailers. Our priority is to drive profit for our franchisees by providing outstanding central support, performance related shares and over-rider schemes.”