Value fashion and homewares retailer Matalan has opened a new model store in High Wycombe with the aim of creating a more engaging shopping experience.

The 30,000 sq ft store, which opened last week, is designed to improve the differentiation between its departments.

Created by consultancy Checkland Kindleysides, the fashion department has been designed around the idea of catwalks, which have been used to separate womenswear, menswear and kidswear. The catwalks have also been used to make the areas easier to navigate.

The homewares section has been overhauled to give a warmer, more domestic feel with lower-level lighting, oak butcher’s blocks for displays and chalkboards for graphics.

Matalan director of store development and visual merchandising Gill Moore said: “We wanted a more emotional and engaging in-store experience as it was previously very rational.”

Moore said the exterior of the store has also been overhauled to look less like a warehouse from the outside. The shop has double-height windows that are bordered by two large billboard adverts to highlight its fashionability.

Matalan, which has 205 stores in the UK, is also piloting a kiosk service that will give customers access to its entire product range in-store, including online exclusives. The self-service EPoS kiosks will also enable customers without internet access to shop on its website.

The second store to adopt the concept will open in March and it will be tested at two existing stores that are due to be refurbished in January. Moore would not reveal locations.

Matalan recently reported total sales increased 1.6% to £539.8m in the 26 weeks ended August 28. Like-for-likes were up 0.5% during the period but this equated to a 9.6% like-for-like increase when compared with the same period two years previously.

Chief executive Alistair McGeorge moved to a non-executive role in October and finance director Paul Gilbert has taken on chief executive duties on an interim basis.