Kwik Save is to shed its soft discounter image and adopt a new high street convenience-focused format - a move that could take it into direct competition with former owner Somerfield.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer, Kwik Save chief executive and chairman Paul Niklas said Kwik Save was aiming to become "a chain of small supermarkets in a convenient location".

Last year, Somerfield boss Paul Mason told The Grocer the chain was aiming to become "Britain's favourite local grocery shop" in light of a move to refocus the business after its take­over by Apax Partners.

But Niklas dismissed suggestions its move would bring Kwik Save into line with Somerfield's position on the high street, claiming instead that Kwik Save's offer would not be matched by any other retailer.

"Kwik Save believes its offer to customers is all about great value, which is different from the Somerfield proposition. Our supermarkets offer quality branded products at competitive prices that are in convenient locations to serve the local community," he said.

Kwik Save's store sizes were also larger, he added. The average size of a Kwik Save store was 10,000 sq ft, while a Somerfield store tended to be smaller at 7,500 sq ft, he said.

Kwik Save is preparing to list a further 1,500 grocery lines in stores across the country in the next three weeks - bringing its total number of lines to 2,500.These will include a wide range of non food goods including electrical items such as hairdryers and radios.

Niklas also confirmed he was expecting a second major cash injection. This "significant sum", set to arrive in May, would be put towards rebranding the entire store estate with the new green and red logo and the new Kwik Save strapline 'At your convenience'.

The company is set to start the mass re-branding exercise next week. It is expected to take 12 months to complete. Stores will also be re-painted and adorned with new fixtures and fittings.

The second cash lifeline will also fund a campaign to win back shoppers who, it says, are now "returning to stores in their droves."

Niklas said the four weeks of trading since he pulled the company back from the brink of administration had been positive. "We have seen a 100% increase in sales in the past month and were particularly busy over Easter. Admittedly that was starting from a low base but it is still very promising."

The groundwork was now in place to boost sales and drive footfall, he said. "We are now ready to move the business forward. It's a very exciting time."

Niklas added that all of the UK's key grocery suppliers were back on board. "The reaction from our suppliers has been quite overwhelming. We have received considerable support, which is great as effectively we are now a brand new company."