Bestway keen to grow Costcutter chain in Northern Ireland – but keep it sustainable

Bestway keen to grow Costcutter chain in Northern Ireland – but keep it sustainable

Costcutter’s new owner Bestway is keen to grow its retail chain in Northern Ireland – but is taking care not to go too fast. 

In an exclusive interview in the forthcoming Neighbourhood Retailer yearbook, Bestway Wholesale MD Dawood Pervez says the number of Costcutter retailers in Northern Ireland stands at 110 but he is keen to attract back the retailers who have left in recent years. Some had moved away from Costcutter after wholesale chain Palmer & Harvey went under.

“We have ambition to get them back again,” he pledged.

“The Northern Ireland market has probably the best convenience stores in the UK and Northern Ireland full stop. We’ve got some amazing retailers, like Craigs in Derry or the Moutrays in Lurgan and you’ve also got Sean Clarke in Limavady. He’s a pretty special retailer in an amazing location – a big site and an amazing customer offer, really inspirational.

“We have no physical warehouse or distribution presence in Northern Ireland at this time. There’s a lot of uncertainty over what’s going to happen in that marketplace but it’s a good location. 

“It’s a good market for independent retailers where you haven’t seen the same level of encroachment from multiple retailers, probably partly because the population density spread is different and also because they only got round to it later on and by then all the key locations and the key sites had already gone to independent family owned businesses which is obviously fantastic. Long may that continue and I think it will.”

Dawood is keen to see Costcutter grow in Northern Ireland but is cautious about keeping that growth sustainable.

“We’re a very ambitious business. We exist purely so that we can serve independent retailers – we ourselves come from an independent retail background, we know what independent retailers need, we know what they want. Our purpose is to fulfil that and in doing so, ensure that we also have a good business,” he says.

“The only way this sector works is you’ve got to grow, and have that ambition to grow, and of course the desire to grow…. We’re watching Northern Ireland very, very carefully, trying to understand what’s the best way for us to do so but you can be fully assured that our intention is to do so.

“However, we’re very focused on keeping our existing customers happy and satisfied. There are opportunities for us to grow our business to some extent but we have to do it sustainably – you can’t just go out and do it in an irrational manner.

“So there is an opportunity for us to add say 10% to our existing store count, but I’m looking at it more strategically to understand how we can address the market better.”

Full interview with Bestway Wholesale MD Dawood Pervez in forthcoming Neighbourhood Retailer yearbook.