SHOEFAYRE, the Movement's footwear business, has embarked on a major refurbishment programme for 120 of its 260 stores to reflect its new corporate image, SF.
The business ? owned by the Co-operative Group and nine independent retail societies ? will also open new stores in Cumbernauld, Erith, Harlow and Tunstall.
Fifteen pilot stores have now been converted to the new SF format and a further 30 will be refurbished during 2005.
The rebranding involves the logo, store identity, displays and ? importantly ? the product range. Shoefayre, whose head office is in Leicester, has traditionally been known for budget family shoes.
However the emphasis now will be targeted more at the fashion value market.
Marketing Manager Darren Lince told the News: "Our buying team has been extremely busy sourcing a much more contemporary product in footwear and accessories.
"We have had a successful reaction to a number of these products and the improved fashion content and quality has been received well by customers. The fact that celebrities like Katie Melua are known to shop at SF elevates our standing. With such rapid turnaround of styles, we are now stocking affordable fashion of improving quality."
Sales at the refurbished stores typically see a ten per cent increase and footfall improves considerably.
Amanda Saunders, manager of the refurbished flagship Leicester store commented: "We are now attracting a younger audience and though the average purchase price is not dramatically higher, frequency of purchase is."
Added Ms Saunders: "Many customers also appreciate our ethical stance. We are the only UK retailer to offer Brazil's Bibi range of ethical children's footwear"