Shoefayre rejigs format to take image upmarket

Budget footwear specialist Shoefayre aims to move away from its pile-it-high-sell-it-cheap image, with a programme of store refurbs and the launch of new lines.

The retailer, part of the Co-operative Group, has revamped its Leicester branch as a flagship store.

The new design, displaying less stock in more contemporary surroundings, will be rolled out to a further two stores in Scotland in the autumn, then selected shops across the UK.

Shoefayre, which has 365 stores, has also launched an ethical line of children's shoes called Bibi. The Brazilian brand ensures that its products are not made in sweatshops and donates to a number of charities.

On the back of findings from an ongoing marketing survey, Shoefayre said it was adopting a more customer-led format. The new shops are less cluttered, and improvements have been introduced, such as the co-ordination of ladies' handbags with displayed footwear.

As a result of the changes, the Leicester store has generated a 50 per cent increase in handbag sales.

A Shoefayre spokesman said the retailer aimed to capture more C1 and B customers with the new store approach, as well as extending its customer base to take in the fashion-conscious youth market.

Sam Chatterley-Farley, manager of the Leicester store, said: 'We have noticed a marked change in customers in a very short space of time.'