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Growing but wary of the Alldays factor.

Costcutter is confident it will reach its target of 1,000 stores in the UK by next year.

The symbol group has added 40 members to its 800 strong estate this year and it is concentrating on a recruitment drive in Norfolk, and Suffolk.

But it will also be trying to boost membership in the south west and Scotland were its has 74 and 85 stores respectively.

MD Colin Graves said despite some members selling their stores, none had defected to rival groups Spar, Mace and Londis. Costcutter also bought five empty stores in London. All are on inner city brownfield sites, making them suitable for 24 hour trading.

But Graves is wary of the "Alldays factor" -- expanding the estate too quickly. "I'll be happy if we can get to that level, but I don't believe in setting too many targets."

Graves said expansion in Eire was buoyant. Nineteen "sizeable" stores with average weekly sales of 40,000 [pounds sterling] have joined. Graves is aiming for 30 by the end of next year.

But Poland is proving a tougher nut to crack, despite 48 stores. This is largely due to restrictive import legislation and poor logistics said Graves. "Outside Warsaw, roads are bad. Banks cannot process direct debits. There needs to be internal progress before we can really grow."
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Comment:Growing but wary of the Alldays factor.
Publication:Grocer
Date:Sep 18, 1999
Words:219
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