Poundland is planning to “reboot” its image with new store designs aimed at realigning the high street discounter with more upmarket retailers.

A complete rethink could see branches looking more like department stores from next year, according to the chain’s UK and Ireland retail director Austin Cooke.

“The reboot is about, from a total propositional point of view, what should the store look like, from ground to ceiling?” said Cooke.

He said a recently opened Stoke-on-Trent branch, with two trading floors previously occupied by Next, was an indication of the direction next year’s reboot could take.

“This is a little bit of a foray into, what could a new Poundland look like?” he said. “Much more department store-esque, occupying that previous Next unit.”

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The upper floor of the Stoke branch is devoted entirely to the in-store clothing outlet Pep&Co, credited this week as the primary driver of like-for-like Poundland growth in a fourth quarter trading update.

Pep&Co sells at multiple price points, an example Poundland itself could follow in the future as a way to “future-proof the proposition”, Cooke said.

Poundland already sells at £2 and £5 in addition to the mainstay £1. While the “Poundland” name could never change, its meaning could be reinterpreted as meaning every price is rounded to a pound.

“Where we’d like to take the brand in the future is, staying anchored to the Poundland name, but is it a land of items at a round price point, as opposed to simply playing the £1 game?”

“But that is a slow burner for us,” Cooke added. “We don’t want to shock the customer or do anything too dramatic that completely changes perception of the brand.”

He likened the planned reboot to Aldi’s Project Fresh and a similar upgrade programme which has seen Lidl stores gain more modern designs.

“If you take an Aldi store from 20 years ago, and today, the way they feel to shop in is very different. I think Poundland has work to do on that journey as well.

“Discount isn’t a dirty word anymore, like it may have been 10 or 15 years ago. It’s becoming the mainstay of how consumers shop. That means the environment in which they shop could also start to feel very different.

“There’s absolutely a burning desire inside the business to step-change the way our stores look and feel.”