Variety chain Wilkinson has launched its first range of own-brand food products.

The 54 lines have been arriving at Wilkinson’s 344 stores in the past week and include biscuits such as custard creams and digestives, priced from 52p; sweets such as mint imperials and chocolate limes, priced 68p; dolly mixtures and fizzy cola bottles at 33p; plus cereal bars from 88p and snacks such as crisps (pictured).

The retailer already sells own-brand products such as paints, toys, hardware and gardening tools, all of which were rebranded over the past year. In 2009 35.9% of Wilkinson’s sales came from its 9,500 own-brand SKUs. However, this is the first time it has launched an own-brand food offering.

Wilkinson said the launch of the new range followed “extensive customer research”, which had led it to “refine” its offering.

Wilkinson has sold branded food items such as sandwiches, biscuits and confectionery for some time and a spokesman said it would continue to stock food brands.

Rival players in the value market have also been ramping up their food ranges as they try to offer a more convenience-led range. Single price point retailer Poundland has introduced items such as sandwiches, eggs, and milk in the past two years.

And 99p Stores has also been building up its food offering, installing fridges to stock eggs, cheese, yoghurt, meats and bread in all of its stores this year.

Wilkinson’s pre-tax profits surged from £29.5m to £65m in the 12 months to January 29, as revealed by Retail Week on June 25. Like-for-like sales increased 2%, while turnover climbed 7% to £1.6bn as the retailer benefited from cash-strapped consumers seeking value in the downturn.

As well as revamping its own-brand range, Wilkinson has been busy rebranding its stores and opening new shops in the new format, which includes new signage, layouts, lighting, flooring, fascias and displays.