Nisa actively stepped up its targeting of Costcutter members in the wake of RedOrange’s change of groups in June, Nisa-Today’s chief executive Neil Turton has admitted.

Speaking exclusively to C-Store, Turton also revealed that this year’s record Nisa rebate payout of £4.5m was substantially increased at the last minute in order to retain members’ loyalty.

He said: “Previously we had concentrated our sales effort on other groups, but we regarded the loss of RedOrange and other retailers as a provocative act. I was on the defensive in the summer and spent a lot of time trying to persuade Nisa members not to switch to Costcutter. This drove a decision about the rebate and recruitment.”

Despite the increased focus, only four retailers made the switch to Nisa. Turton continued: “We’ve got 13 sales people and it’s impossible for us to be that active. We’ve lost more members to Costcutter than they’ve lost to us.”

The proposed new deal with Costcutter includes a non-solicitation clause that would prevent poaching by one group from another “as far as the law allows”, added Turton. The two organisations gave undertakings to ensure the free movement of retailers following a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2006 that they were effectively operating a cartel.