A raft of store refits and fewer promotions is helping Somerfield move upmarket.
Speaking after this week's agm, chief executive Alan Smith said it was a "gradual drift" and that as the retail brand grew stronger, the chain would rely less on promotions. "In the refitted stores the proportion of sales from promotions is less than in the traditional stores, which shows people are getting the message."
However, he said the chain would never go down the EDLP route: "Promotions will always be important to our customers."
A non-food trial in Kwik Save, which has been extended to 100 stores, will reach another 150 next year Â including electricals, household textile and clothing Â while a similar trial in a couple of big Somerfield stores was doing OK, said Smith.
But he added: "It's important that we don't supress the image of fresh food in Somerfield."
The chain announced like-for-like sales down 0.3% in the first quarter but up 2.1% in the second eight weeks. Somerfield sales were up 0.4%, while Kwik Save's rose 4.4%.
Executive chairman John von Spreckelsen said: "The recent Kwik Save performance has been enhanced by a strong promotional programme."