Costcutter is to change the way it handles contracts with new and existing retailers next year, according to multiple industry sources.

A source within the symbol group told RN unaffiliated store owners would still be able to sign supply agreements in the new year, but will no longer be allowed to stock Co-op own-label products unless they joined the fascia.

However, another industry source claimed unaffiliated retailers would not be able to sign any supply deal at all unless they refurbish their store under the fascia’s branding.

According to the source, the changes will take place from December and are aimed at increasing the number of Costcutter stores following the loss of more than 400 stores in the last year, and improving Costcutter’s sales volumes.

Following the collapse of Palmer & Harvey in November last year, Costcutter signed its retailers onto emergency supply deals with Bestway, Booker, Nisa and Parfetts.

Another industry source said Costcutter is now attempting to increase its sales volumes by terminating the remaining emergency supply deals and offering Costcutter direct supply agreements instead.

“It will affect the smaller stores who found Bestway was more favourable to them in terms of minimum delivery requirements,” he said. 

“Costcutter attempted to move supply back to itself and Nisa, but the date to switch was pushed back a few times.”

The source was unable to confirm the current status of the other emergency supply contracts.

A Costcutter spokesperson denied both claims and said: “There are no policies stopping independent retailers from joining Costcutter Supermarket Group while continuing to trade under their own branding. 

“All of our emergency supply contracts were closed down in the summer, following the introduction of our new supply deal with Co-op.

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