As its store refurbishment programme hit the 2,000 store mark this week, The Co-operative Group said it was on course to revamp 700 food stores this calendar year, and all of its 4,200 estate by the end of 2009.

The Co-operative food store at Locks Heath, near Southampton, became the 2,000th store to be refurbished when it opened its doors on Thursday following a £1.6m refit. The society has now rebranded 1,074 food stores, 298 pharmacies, 374 travel agencies, 90 banks and 164 funeral homes at a rate of 15 stores a week.

“We have the largest retail network of any corporate organisation in the UK, so to rebrand and refit every outlet is a massive undertaking,” said director of marketing Patrick Allen. “This year alone we will transform more stores than McDonald’s and Starbucks have in this country combined. However, there is far more to our identity than just the logo and fascia. One of the main objectives is to improve overall standards and thereby enhance the customer experience.”

Like-for-like sales growth in rebranded stores was about 12%, he added.

The new-look food stores include a bright green fascia, a brighter and more modern interior and a greater emphasis on the society’s ethical and fair trade principles.