Thresher Group is scrapping five of its store fascias and replacing them with its existing Threshers brand and one which is currently on trial, The Local.
The overhaul is in an attempt to combat competition from supermarkets and c-stores.
The drinks specialist will drop Bottoms Up, Drinks Cabin, Haddows, Victoria Wine and Wine Rack, replacing them with stores branded Threshers and The Local across its 2,000 estate.
It is trialling The Local format in four Glasgow stores from the end of this month. The Local format is eventually intended to be part of a 600-store drinks division which the company believes will perform well in community areas away from supermarkets.
The product offering in these stores will include services such as lottery, e-top up and film hire; chilled, ambient and frozen foods; newspapers and cigarettes. There will also be a limited wine offering, with the focus instead on beer.
The Local stores will feature cross-category promotions linking, for example, meals, films and drinks. A £2m, 64-store roll-out is planned for this year alone, as long as the trials are successful.
In addition, the Threshers format will be developed to include Threshers Plus stores, with a strong convenience food offering, and T23 stores with a
more limited offering. Trials of the Threshers Plus format have been completed in stores in Fulham, Pimlico, Maida Vale and Wimbledon.
The shops feature chilled and ambient snacks and dips, ready meals, pizza, continental breads and deli-style charcuterie and Gü branded desserts.
Gourmet meal kits will be sold under the Leapingsalmon brand, which the group acquired in July last year.
Thresher Group said the stores had sold an average of £1,900 worth of food per week, with significant growth in sales and footfall. Consequently, it planned to roll out the concept to 168 stores by 2005.
It also aims to apply the T23 format to 370 stores by December. The first 200 will be within the M25 area and 40 have already been reformatted.
The Threshers Plus and T23 formats will target upmarket singles and families and maintain a strong focus on beer, wine and spirits. Thresher is also working on three other formats - two should be announced by the end of the year.
Rod Addy