Heron Foods expects to complete the revamp of its 240-strong estate by the middle of next year.

Speaking to The Grocer after the discounter opened its latest store in Runcorn, Cheshire, this week, commercial director Mike Igoe said the new-look format, which includes changes to merchandise, branding and marketing, had been implemented in more than 100 stores so far.

“We’ve rationalised our ranging, we’ve created very clearly defined categories within our store environment between the frozen, chilled and ambient areas,” he said.

“We’ve made it cleaner, clearer and easier to shop. We’ve introduced some space planning and a whole new EPoS system, with hardware supplied by Toshiba and software by Datasym.”

Igoe said the “new look and feel” to Heron’s stores was being rolled out at a time when the group was continuing to expand at a rate of 25 to 30 stores a year for the next five years.

He added Heron would consider acquisitions of groups of stores as it did in September 2012 when it bought the 54-store Cooltrader from Iceland.

Most of the Cooltraders have now been converted to the Heron format, but five or six remain, which Igoe said operated successfully in their own right in close proximity to Heron stores.

Heron’s stores are situated in the North of England and the Midlands, with its most southern store in March, Cambridgeshire. But Igoe said: “We are looking to go further in adjoining areas beyond the extremes. We look at any opportunities.”