Wine Cellar is testing a new retail concept to fit midway between its no-frills Booze Buster and upmarket Wine Cellar brands.
It is being trialled under two fascias, Simply Drinks and The Big Drink, at stores in St Asaph, North Wales and Preston in Lancashire respectively.
The company will choose one of the names and plans to convert existing Booze Buster and Wine Cellar stores to the new format after further trials in Newbiggin and Cleveland.
It will have a bigger range of drinks than Booze Busters, with a much larger chilled capacity and more emphasis on displays of wine and beer.
The company said the new off-licences would be “very definitely drinks stores” but would feature a significant convenience element with ranges of chilled snacks, news, confectionary, soft drinks and grocery geared to the local community.
Steve Parker, head of buying and marketing, said: “It is clear from talking to customers and staff that we have stores in excellent locations which are not yet fully meeting customer needs under the Wine Cellar and Booze Buster formats.
“Three very focused brands will each deliver a different shopping experience.”
The project is the second phase of the company’s business strategy. Wine Cellar was formed two years ago to take over the Booze Buster and Wine Cellar brands after they were put in receivership. The first phase saw some of the least successful stores sold.
It has not yet been decided how many stores will convert but Parker said test results had been “very encouraging” and the company was in a position to roll out a new brand quickly.