Exclusive Anne Bruce Woolworths has called in consultants from Nestlé to beef up its General Store concept before a national roll out. The Kingfisher owned retailer plans to convert up to 300 existing Woolworths and Superdrugs to the convenience format in the next five years. An additional 100 stores will be opened in locations where there is no existing Kingfisher offer. A Nestlé spokesman said a development team was taking a 10 year perspective on trends in the convenience sector. He added: "We are helping Woolworths prepare for a step change in retail and how to approach category management in the General Store." Steven Round, md of Woolworths General Store said existing Superdrug and Woolworths were being converted to bring the General Store format up to critical mass. He said: "We are getting to test level and have already identified a clear consumer position for the new group of stores. "Going forward, we will develop new stores in large numbers where there is no nearby Woolworths or Superdrug." Seven General Store formats centred around London will be up and running by the end of the year. Thirty four stores will be added to the portfolio nationwide in 2001 in the shape of 11 conversions and 23 new stores. An analyst said "It makes sense strategically to blend the two formats, especially in the suburbs where neither was a particular success." "With the Big W and General Store formats, Kingfisher is reconfiguring its business to tap into a polarisation of the market between out of town emphasis on low prices and town centre primacy of convenience." Kingfisher is the newest multiple entrant into the convenience sector, combining elements of Woolworths' and Superdrug's offers within the 7,000 sq ft General Store format. {{NEWS }}