Palmer & Harvey is targeting significant growth in Northern Ireland, according to the company’s new sales and marketing director Jez Pegg. In the past year the company has invested in significant warehousing to enable it to target around 3,000 independents. "The deal with Costcutter gives us the scope to expand in Northern Ireland, and we will continue to hone our offer accordingly," said Pegg. "Service is key there is strong competition here, so no room for complacency. We currently serve 125 Costcutter stores and around 300 independents, so there is a lot of scope to expand."

The initial problems which hit the changeover from Nisa to Palmer & Harvey in the spring have largely been resolved according to Melvyn Moutray, proprietor of Moutray’s, a long-established family business in Northern Ireland. The firm has been with Costcutter for 20 years via its two Texaco-branded forecourts and two standalone c-stores.

"It’s true the changeover from Nisa to Palmer and Harvey wasn’t so good but we expected that," he said. "It has improved now, so we’re back on track. The Costcutter model suits us so there is no need to change. Plus there’s more flexibility."