Haldanes plans to source 35% of its food and drink from local producers
A new supermarket chain has bought four stores in Scotland ahead of expansion across the UK which it claimed would secure hundreds of jobs.
Haldanes said it was the first mid-sized supermarket chain to open for business in the UK for 27 years.
The first four stores are at Carluke in Lanarkshire, and Broxburn, Prestonpans and Tranent, near Edinburgh
A key policy of Haldanes is to source 35% of its food and drink from local producers at each store.
The new company said it has plans to open dozens of additonal stores throughout the UK over the next few years.
Haldanes chairman Arthur Harris said: "We are protecting the jobs of all existing stores staff and when the expansion programme is complete and the new management structure is in place we expect to employ more than 700 people.
"In particular, stores north of the border will include an enhanced range of Scottish foods.
Mr Harris added: "This is an exciting project, not just for those of us involved but for business generally at a time when all we've been hearing for over the last year are dire tales of closures, job losses, stagnant growth and doom and disaster."
The first of the Haldanes stores will begin trading from mid-November with others planned to come on stream in the New Year following a store-by-store, staff consultation programme.
At the heart of the new company's ethos is a strategy to engage fully with local community life at each of the stores, most of which are in market towns.
Haldanes has struck a deal with wholesaler Nisa-Today's, who will be the main supplier for the chain.
The company will have two main bases - Grantham in Lincolnshire and Broxburn, near Edinburgh.
The acquisition of the four stores came about after The Co-operative Group was required by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to offload 133 outlets, in centres where it already had stores, following its takeover of Somerfield earlier this year.