The Martin McColl makeover is set to continue - but it will not be an easy ride for suppliers.

The chain will continue to make "unreasonable demands" on suppliers in 2007, warned general manager for buying, Thain Coventry.

The chain is determined to build on the momentum gained this year with a revamp of all of its stores

This year the c-store and CTN chain rolled out new fascias, incorporating suppliers' logos, across 1,300 outlets in just 10 months.

It also began a programme of internal rebranding, withoverhead signage for major brands, a project expected to be completed next September. Suppliers are expected to continue playing a key role as the company strives to build on the progress made since its MBO in September 2005.

The chain is now working with both Cadbury and Masterfoods to design new branded counters, said Coventry. Both manufacturers are developing prototypes but Martin McColl plans to choose just one.

Coventry told suppliers at a conference: "If you thought this year was tough, you'd be right. What we've got to do for 2007 is also a tough project, but the rewards will be great."

Martin McColl has also invested £10m in new Epos that incorporates till point advertising and will be rolled out across the estate from next month.

The chain is looking to roll out its Booze Buster fascia tie-up across 350 stores following a 17% sales boost in test stores. The roll-out starts in February.

It is also reaping the rewards of a redesign of its tobacco gantries. Philip Morris installed 1,200 specially designed gantries between March and August, resulting in a 3.5% value sales uplift year-on-year.

Drink sales have increased with the roll-out of new chillers across 700 stores in April. The company reduced the number of SKUs with a resulting 6.5% lift in sales. The chiller roll-out is expected to be completed in Q1 next year with 300 still to be installed.