Homewares retailer Lakeland wants to double the size of its store portfolio within the next five years.

The 40-shop kitchenware and gardenware retailer said it would be cautious about expansion due to the fragility of the economy, but it is aiming for 80 shops.

Lakeland estates director Julian Rayner – one of the three brothers who founded and own the company – said appropriate properties were becoming available in schemes “that wouldn’t have looked at us previously”. Rayner added that expansion would focus on high street locations rather than shopping centres.

Lakeland is also rolling out its new-format design. Last week it opened a new-look store in a former branch of Argos in Stratford-upon-Avon. The design, created by consultancy Small Back Room, aims to give a more kitchen-based in-store ambiance.

The 5,715 sq ft shop is a move on from the format piloted at Durham in April. The Stratford-upon-Avon branch is a lower-cost version of the prototype and is likely to be rolled out across the chain in the next year. Rayner said the Stratford-upon-Avon format is about 30 per cent cheaper to install than Durham is, and the retailer has a programme of refurbishments in place.

Small Back Room director Calum Lumsden said: “The reduction has been achieved by taking out certain elements, such as the chandelier, and putting out store fixtures and shopfitting to tender.”

The Durham store features a demonstration kitchen and an area to showcase kitchen essentials. The centrepiece chandelier is formed out of 350 Lakeland products, including metal whisks and spatulas. He added that Lakeland’s store in Tunbridge Wells, due to be refurbished in early autumn, would be more cost-effective than Durham. The retailer will also open a new shop in Reading this autumn.

In the year to December 31, 2007, Lakeland’s sales rose 24 per cent to £125.6m while pre-tax profit was flat at £6.3m.