Costcutter hoping to increase to 6000 branches
Bibby Line (which sounds like the name of a long lost seventies songstrel) are the 200-year-old family business behind the Costcutter chain, and are now planning to plough some of its record annual profits into buying up more, which should help make it Britain’s largest convenience retailer.
Managing director Sir Michael Bibby said he wanted to more than double the number of Costcutter outlets from 2,500 to 6,000. Perspective-wise, Costcutter is Britain’s second largest convenience store business, behind the Premier chain operated by Booker, which has about 3,000 shops.
Now that people can't be as arsed with the big supermarkets, smaller local shops have started to happen again, with sales in that sector growing at 5% a year.
And so now it would seem that supermarkets are moving into the smaller sectors too.
Co-operative Group, which already has about 2,000 smaller stores, has said it aims to double that number. Tesco has about 1,700 Express outlets and plans new openings – as does J Sainsbury, which currently has around 500. Wm Morrison, with 100 convenience stores, aims to open two outlets a week.
However, Sir Michael said: “We have a target for 6,000 stores. In this sector it is not really Spar competing with Costcutter and Londis, but it is independents against the supermarkets. We need to have the same offer and price as the supermarkets.”
It all seems like the indies want to gang up on the ongoing quest to fill every bit of the UK with a half-heartedly run Tesco Express or Sainsbury Local. And hey, why not?
In the in the year to December 31, Bibby grew its revenues by 13% year on year, from £1.4bn to £1.6bn, while operating profits rose 50% to £69.6m. Pre-tax profit rose from £36.2m to £66.3m, after accounting for £11m in proceeds from the sale of two businesses, and £14.4m in interest charges.