C&A vanished from the UK at the beginning of the century, but it is thriving in mainland Europe and last month unveiled a new format for Avanti, one of its fashion brands.

Taking the shape of a 32,295 sq ft (3,000 sq m) standalone store in the centre of southern German city Augsburg, it represents the latest thinking from the very private pan-European retailer. Unlike its other fashion brand, Clockhouse, which also has standalone stores, no reference is made to the parent C&A brand on this store’s fascia

Inside, the differences between this and what you would find in a normal C&A store are also stark, from the orange and white signage to the contemporary cash desk, with retro pendant lights and a lower case logo on the wall behind it. A second Avanti store has now opened in the western German town of Gelsenkirchen and, according to C&A Europe executive board member for marketing Andreas Seitz, the format may be rolled out to other towns in Germany.

As rumours persist that Primark is gearing up for expansion into more European countries, the Avanti format looks like a conscious attempt by the clothing retailer to counter any potential threat from that direction. C&A has also divided Avanti from its main ranges by creating a separated limited company for the brand that will have its own discrete management.