Specialist retailer Pets at Home is preparing to ramp up the conversion of its stores to the model it revealed at Romford in Essex nearly 18 months ago.

Chief executive Matt Davies said that another 10 of the chain’s 216 outlets would be overhauled in the early part of this year. He added that a decision on whether to convert a substantial tranche of shops to the Romford blueprint would be taken in the late summer, “probably in September”.

To date, the new look has been showcased in about 20 per cent of stores. Davies said that if sales at the next 10 conversions are above the company average, an investment of£10 million would be made over two years to speed up the makeover programme. The average cost of a store revamp is between£300,000 and£400,000.

When Pets at Home, owned by private equity company Bridgepoint, revealed the Romford format in late 2006, it was hailed as a new direction for pet shops. It emphasised animal lifestyle retailing, with large graphics and themed in-store areas. The original store design was enhanced at the Crayford branch, where an aquatic centre was tested.

Pets at Home has also completed a graphic “look and feel” programme in all shops. This has allowed the retailer to introduce the softer elements of the Romford design across the entire store portfolio, without changing store equipment.

Last year, Pets at Home drafted in advisers to conduct a strategic review. Davies said that findings would not be available until the middle of this year.