The owner of Bargain Booze has set out ambitious plans to take on the symbol group sector by opening up a store a week for the next three years. 

Following the release of the firm’s yearly results, Conviviality Retail CEO Diana Hunter said they would grow the group by 55 stores every year between now and 2018 – expanding from 624 to 789 stores.

The announcement was a U-turn for Hunter who, prior to the results, told Retail Express that expansion wasn’t “being rushed”. “For me it’s a very different from growth when you’re in a corporation like Sainsbury’s or Tesco,”
she said.

The CEO said that finding the right retailer with the right store location is vital to expansion, but she claimed it was this that was preventing the store openings. “The reason we don’t set out a specific number of store openings by specific dates is because we want to have great stores with great retailers,” she said.

Bargain Booze Conviviality Retail CEO, Diana Hunter

After a 4.4% growth in pre-tax profits, Conviviality plans to target Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire and the South West.

To create a “balance between the different formats,” two thirds of the planned expansion will be Bargain Booze Select Convenience formats, with the others opening under Wine Rack and the standard Bargain Booze fascia.

The company is also in takeover talks with Matthew Clarke Holdings, the UK’s biggest on-trade drinks supplier, but Hunter remained tight-lipped on the subject.

“I can’t talk to you about it, but what I can say is that we would only do things that will enhance the overall group for the benefit of our employees, franchisees and shareholders,” she said.