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Colin Graves founded Costcutter in 1978 as a rival to the Spar chain, where he had worked for 17 years. He began by buying seven former Spar franchises in York. Today Costcutter has a franchise network of 1,200 stores in the UK, 65 in Ireland and 52 in Poland. The central group takes fees of 1% of sales from its shops, hence the slim margins on sales of £360m in 2002, when it had 1,023 employees.

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Company details
ActivityConvenience store operator
Sales £m360
Profit £m3
Year endApr 02
Principal shareholdersColin Graves and family (100%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure **Estimated