Bibby will continue to invest in Costcutter despite failing in its takeover bid for Nisa-Today's and losing the ambient distribution contract for the organisation, Costcutter executive chairman Colin Graves has told C-Store.

The symbol group, which is 51% owned by Bibby Line Group, still has five years to run on its own, separate distribution deal with Nisa, which will use DHL rather than the Bibby Distribution subsidiary as its logistics partner from 2011. In the summer, Nisa-Today's also rebuffed a full takeover by Bibby.

Despite these developments, Graves insisted that it was "business as usual" between Costcutter and Nisa.

"We've got five years left on our distribution arrangement with Nisa and, of course, we will honour that," he said. "I want the best possible distribution at the best possible price, and it doesn't matter whether it's Bibby or DHL as long as they provide that.

"Five years is a long time and we aren't looking for anyone else to work with just yet. If Nisa wants us to stay, it might put a great offer on the table at some stage, but we'll deal with that if and when it happens."

Graves added that the summer's developments would have no impact on investment plans for the group.

"Independent retail is an area Bibby want to develop, and they will look at opportunities as they come along, whether that means buying new stores or other wholesalers.

"They are not venture capitalists, they are a family business investing for the long-term. Bibby have a vision for the future of Costcutter and that's why I sold it to them. I haven't spent the past 23 years building this company up to see it go down the pan, and hopefully it will still be here in 100 years' time."