After 17 years service for the Spar convenience store franchise, Colin Graves felt he could do a better job himself and in 1978 founded a rival group, Costcutter. The company began with seven stores in York, all consisting of former Spar franchises whose owners were unhappy about the small profits they were making. Costcutter is now a franchise network of 1,200 stores in the UK. Each store has an average turnover of £18,000 a week, and gives just 1% of turnover to Costcutter, which recorded sales of £300m in 2001, when it had 1,008 staff.
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