Big Food plans speedy Premier growth

Big Food Group's Premier business is set to go through the 2,000 store barrier this year, making it the fastest-growing symbol group in the UK, according to the retailer.

The planned expansion will mean that BFG will have doubled the number of Premier stores in two years.

BFG chief executive Bill Grimsey said: 'The new-format Premiers are performing really well with the support mechanism from Booker.' He added that like-for-likes at Premier were up 8 per cent. BFG is looking to strengthen its symbol group further, and is mulling a bid for Londis.

BFG is also to step up the roll-out of its Iceland formats. The retailer has converted 142 stores, but plans to upgrade a further 150 this financial year. Grimsey said the entire 748-strong portfolio is to be refurbished within three years. BFG will be investing about£37.5 million in the refits.

Big Food Group revealed profit before tax up 35 per cent to£50.1 million for the year to May 27. Total sales were£5.15 billion.

In the six weeks to May 14, group like-for-likes were down 0.8 per cent, with Iceland down 1.9 per cent and Booker down 1.5 per cent.