Rhythm & Booze founder Martin Swaine has joined rival group Bargain Booze as a super franchisee and consultant to the group.

Swaine opened his first Rhythm & Booze store in 1993 and built it into a 70-strong chain spanning Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire before it was purchased by Costcutter owner Bibby Retail Services earlier this year.

He has now joined rival group Bargain Booze, which has an estate of over 600 franchisee-owned stores, to support the company’s expansion drive into Yorkshire and to spearhead innovations and trial new retail formats.

One of Swaine’s first tasks will be to build his own chain of stores in Yorkshire under the Bargain Booze umbrella.

Keith Webb, acting managing director of Bargain Booze, said: “Few people have built a sizeable off-licence and convenience business from scratch like Martin, so it’s a major coup that he’s joined Bargain Booze to support the development of our franchise business. He shares our passion for supporting independent retailers and helping them to maximise the potential of their businesses.”

Martin Swaine said: “Bargain Booze is a growing business with a unique operating model that has shown its resilience in a difficult climate for high street retailers and off-licences in particular.

“It has an entrepreneurial approach, a highly capable management team and the backing of its investors. For these reasons I was attracted by the dual opportunity to build my own chain of stores as a super franchisee and to support the group in its ambition for growth and innovation.”

He will also provide his expertise and support to existing Bargain Booze franchisees in a consultancy role with the group. This will include using his stores as a test bed for new innovations which, if successful, will be made available to other franchisees.