Employee-owned wholesaler Parfetts is aiming to treble its target for new Go Local stores this year, in response to consolidation across the covenience sector and in the wake of strong Christmas sales growth. 

The wholesaler said it expected the Tesco-Booker and Co-op-Nisa deals to encourage more retailers to switch to its Go Local fascia.

Parfetts currently operates 350 Go Local stores and is looking to increase this figure to 500 by the end of the year. It has trebled its new store target for 2018 from 50 to 150.

Parfetts head of customer development and marketing Guy Swindell said: “There are obviously retailers unnerved by the uncertainty and passionate about maintaining their independence in the wake of the recent mergers.

“Go Local will undoubtedly be viewed as an attractive alternative and we will be ready to welcome them. 2018 will see a continuation of our Go Local brand expansion into further UK regions beyond the traditional footprints of our six depots.”

Parfetts also reported strong sales growth of 8.8% during the five-week Christmas period. Excluding tobacco, sales rose by 12.5%.

The wholesaler’s joint managing director Greg Suszczenia said: “Our recently instigated three-point strategy is already producing results. We centralised the buying functions for all six branches into our Stockport head office and completed a branch modernisation and customer development programme as well as introducing a new delivered Go Local Direct service out of our Sheffield depot.

“All these initiatives have played their part in the growth that we achieved over the Christmas period but it wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of our depot teams as well as the support from our excellent range of suppliers. I’d like to thank them all for their hard work and commitment over the last 12 months.”

He added: “We are very optimistic about the prospects for the year ahead and have ambitious plans which include the expansion of our retail club membership to 2000 and fascia stores to 500. With our improved logistics capability, we are now able to open up our service to wider geographical areas.”