Hampshire-based Southern Co-op opened its latest store under its new “state of the art” fascia today (Saturday).

The former Costcutter store now carries a new Southern Co-op logo with a silver background instead of aqua green. Inside the 3,000 sq ft store all fixtures and fittings are stainless steel, a design developed and launched at the flagship store in Portsmouth earlier this year.

The fresh food range has been extended with fresh coffee part of an expanded food to go offer. Operations manager Paul Bye said Southern Co-op planned to refurbish a further six of its 89 stores this year. It has already opened eight of the new look stores in 2003.

It is introducing a society stock management system at all refurbished stores.

Southern Co-op is planning to remain outside the Co-operative Retail Trading Group, added Bye. “We are affiliated to CRTG, but being independent gives us a greater control over products in stores”, he said.