Nisa Retail has appointed asset management firm Lazard to advise the organisation, increasing speculation that a business restructuring or full sale might be proposed to the membership in the near future.

Chief executive Nick Read’s three-year business plan for Nisa includes an aspiration to build scale in the business and take annual sales to £2bn. C-Store understands that the group’s board has received several approaches from other organisations in the industry in recent months, ranging from partnership proposals to a full takeover, and that Lazard would be able to provide expert advice in how to evaluate opportunities to restructure the group, such as via the addition of new shareholders within a joint venture.

Nisa is not commenting on the new arrangement, and any change in the ownership or shareholding structure of the mutual group would be subject to approval by members. Retailers can own up to a maximum of 250 shares in the group, although many own substantially fewer than this.

At the same time, the group is pursuing a refinancing package with bankers, designed to reflect the stronger financial position of the group since the previous facility was negotiated.