Charity shop Age UK is reformatting its 500 stores after the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged last year.

The shops - comprising 170 Age Concern shops and about 330 Help the Aged stores - generate £45m in income every year for the charity.

The organisation is trialling a new format in four stores while aiming to rebadge the entire estate to Age UK by June.

The new concept - in its shops in Ashtead in Surrey, Colne in Lancashire, Chesterfield in Derbyshire, and Kentish Town in north London - will feature a new layout and improved merchandising as well as an interactive information hub where customers can learn more about the organisation.

Age UK director of retail Hugh Forde said: “As a retail business we now have the opportunity to do something quite different in the sector. We have not invested particularly well in our estate historically. This is a move forward for us.”

He said he wants to “drive profitability” as well as “utilise” the shops to inform shoppers of what Age UK does.

He said: “From the lessons of these stores we will develop the rebranding to all stores throughout this year. We know that where we have a bright vibrant store we attract more volunteers and increase donations.”

Each refit will cost between £15,000 and £30,000. The typical store size is 500 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft.

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