Divestment hailed a success
Budgens independent stores increased like-for-like sales by 8 per cent for the three months to March 31 compared with the same period last year.

Irish owner Musgrave hailed the rise as an endorsement for the retailer's ongoing divestment programme.

Since its acquisition of Budgens in 2002, Musgrave has transferred 116 of the chain's convenience stores into independent ownership, with the expectation that all 182 stores will have been divested by the end of this year, six months ahead of schedule.

The chain also announced a pilot of a brand refresh, with a community focus.

Budgens is planning to reposition the brand under the strapline 'Real food for today's communities', starting with a pilot store in the Cotswolds this summer.

Budgens managing director Martin Hyson said: 'Our aim remains to replicate the success of our business in Ireland by helping to create exciting retail businesses that play a strong role in local communities. Our approach is to better equip independent retailers to meet the demands of the communities they serve by offering a distinctive blend of products and services with an increased emphasis on local sourcing.'