The Co-operative Group is set to embark on "the biggest modernisation programme" in its 144-year history.
The group is to rebrand and refit 1,500 of its retail outlets by the end of next year, to the tune of £200m. The investment means that more than half of the society's 4,500-strong estate of food stores, pharmacies, travel, funeral and bank branches and all its own brand products and packaging will be unified under The Co-operative brand by December 2008.
Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative Trading Group described the move as "a massive undertaking", which had only been made possible by the merger with United Co-operatives in July.
"The combined business now accounts for over 80% of co-operative trade in the UK, for the first time making a brand relaunch a viable proposition," he said.
One of the main objectives of the exercise was to improve the group's overall brand standards," he added.
"There is far more to a brand identity than just the logo on our own label goods and the fascia outside an outlet. The inconsistency of our brand has been a major failing for far too long."