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M&Co reveals storefit and expansion plans

Value retailer M&Co, which operates 290 stores in the UK, has unveiled a new-look store concept and pushed the button on a 2010 expansion strategy.

The business is to open at least 10 branches during 2010, all of which are expected to get the new storefit.

The concept is an upgrading of the retailer’s current “white box” store concept that has been trading for five years. It has been developed to inject colour into the store environment and improve customer circulation around the store.

It is currently being trialled at M&Co in Surbiton and Godalming in Surrey, Sidmouth and Totnes in Devon, Maldon in Essex, Ely in Cambridgeshire and Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

M&Co head of marketing and web services Andy McGeoch said the new concept had already had a “highly positive effect” on pre-Christmas sales. “We’ve been trading really strongly [over recent weeks] with a lot of good figures – some double digit – against last year, and those are in comparable, like-for-like stores.”

He added that knitwear had sold better than outerwear for the retailer so far this autumn due to the mild start to the season. “We’ve had some great reactions to our products this season and seen sell-throughs like we’ve never seen before,” he said.

The store concept was created by design consultancy Jamieson Smith of Newton Abbot in Devon.

McGeoch said: “We’ve got a fairly set format, which was very white, so the redesign was about bringing a bit of colour into the stores.”

Jamieson Smith creative director Nikki Hemstock added: “We looked at aspects of customer circulation around the store, lighting and so on. M&Co didn’t have a circulation plan so we worked to reduce the depth of the departments and, in the larger stores, to drive sales on the upper floors as well.”

Earlier this year, M&Co revealed a fall in operating profits before amortisation and goodwill from £9.8m to £8.6m for the year to February 20.

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