Former Clintons boss new chief at Costcutter

COSTCUTTER has appointed former Clintons Cards boss Darcy Willson-Rymer as its new chief executive following the decision by Nick Ivel to step down after 14 years at the retailer.

The York-based convenience store chain said Mr Ivel will stay on in a consultancy role and will search for acquisition targets as the group gears up for expansion. Costcutter said these could be single sites or larger groups with a number of stores.

Mr Ivel’s departure follows founder and former chairman Colin Graves’ decision to resign in May in order to become executive chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

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Mr Willson-Rymer left Clintons in May after the group went into administration. He will join Costcutter on September 10.

Prior to joining Clintons, Mr Willson-Rymer was managing director of Starbucks UK and Ireland for three years and he has also held the role of managing director of Persil Services.

He spent 19 years at Yum Brands, where he worked in various roles including operations director for KFC Great Britain.

Mr Willson-Rymer said: “Costcutter is one of the biggest brands in convenience retailing, supporting independent retailers throughout the UK and giving them the tools they need to grow their businesses.

“With the new format kwiksave brand performing ahead of target and the roll out of the premium myCostcutter brand gathering pace, it truly is an exciting time to be joining the business.”

He said he is looking forward to meeting Costcutter’s retailers across the UK in order to help them develop their convenience stores.

He added that the development and expansion of the company owned store portfolio is also a key objective.

Sir Michael Bibby, managing director of Bibby Line Group, which now owns Costcutter, said: “Darcy has an excellent track record within the retail sector and his appointment heralds a new era for Costcutter and all of its retailers.

“He inherits a very strong and very experienced board of directors who are committed to delivering a market-leading convenience retail proposition. Darcy’s vast experience will add a new dynamic as we continue to grow the business.”

Sir Michael praised Mr Ivel’s contribution to the group’s growth.

“I would like to thank Nick for his hard work and the commitment he has given to Costcutter over the last 14 years and for the integral role he has played in getting Costcutter to where it is today.

“Nick’s knowledge of the convenience retail industry is huge and he will assist with the identification of potential acquisition targets which are crucial to our goal of growing the business and our portfolio of company owned stores.”

Mr Ivel said: “After 14 years with Costcutter I feel that now is the right time for a change of leadership and a change of direction for me.

“I leave Costcutter in a strong position and with a team capable of leading the business to the next stage in its development.”

Mr Ivel was involved in the recruitment of Mr Willson-Rymer.

“I believe he is an excellent choice as chief executive and the right person to lead Costcutter,” he said.

“I will be available to assist Darcy where necessary and to give consultancy support to the business and identify potential acquisition targets.”

It is not thought that Mr Ivel has another job lined up.

Last month Costcutter reported a four per cent increase in year-on-year sales for the first half of 2012.

The group declined to disclose its profits.

The business opened the first new kwiksave store in May and the sixth store is set to start trading this month. The group plans to open 20 kwiksaves by the end of the year.

Later this month it will open its fourth premium myCostcutter store.

From just seven stores...

Costcutter has grown from seven Yorkshire stores to more than 1,700 UK stores over the past 25 years.

The convenience store chain, which is predominantly a franchise business, has retail sales of more than £1bn and a workforce of more than 600.

It has more than 200 own-brand products sitting alongside major brands including Birds Eye, Walkers, Cadbury’s, McCain and Andrex.

Late last year, Costcutter was bought out by major shareholder Bibby Line Group, with Costcutter’s management staying on.

Costcutter rejected a £51m takeover approach from Bibby Line Group in 2009, following fruitless merger talks between the two firms in previous years.