Holland & Barrett will double the pace of its store openings and increase the size of shops in a show of commitment to the high street next year. 

The 711-store health and beauty retailer will add up to 65 new sites to its UK and Ireland estate in its financial year to September 2014.

It is a significant acceleration in annual store openings, which average between 30 and 35.

Up to 60% of new stores will be on high streets. Director of property at parent company NBTY Europe, Gurdial Flora, said high streets still provide good returns on investment despite widespread fears over their future.

The retailer’s new stores will cover 1,500 sq ft to 2,500 sq ft, an increase on its traditional size of 950 sq ft to 1,000 sq ft. 

Flora said: “The stores will complement the online business and we will need that number of stores for a good multichannel offer.” 

Flora said the plans were triggered by an increase in footfall driven by the new store designs it has launched over the past year.

These include its Edinburgh Princes Street flagship, which was refitted in February with a consultation area featuring iPads for shoppers and staff, while its Leadenhall store in London features a whey milkshake stand. 

Holland & Barrett will focus on upping its store count in London, adding 15 new shops in high-footfall areas such as near tube and rail stations.  

The retailer also plans to open stores across its European arm, including 30 new shops for its 128-store Dutch fascia De Tuinen and 10 stores to Essenza, its 13-store Belgian health and beauty retailer.