The group said that trials of the new look at 16 food stores in Northampton and Hull had proved successful. It reports that sales, number of daily transactions and store footfall had all out-performed conventional stores.
All 3,000 outlets in the estate will eventually be rebranded in a move that will give all stores in the society a similar fascia colour-coded for business type: green for food shops, orange for travel and blue for banking.
The MidCounties Co-op will also roll out the colour-coded fascias after a successful trial in five stores.
The rebranding initiative also includes a new-style profit- share scheme whereby members get a share of the company profits, similar to the 'divi' scheme that was dropped in the 1970s. This will be based on the value of their purchases across the group's c-stores, funeral homes, pharmacies and travel stores as well as the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance. Points earned will be converted into a share of the profits - one point for every £1 spent - with payments in June and December.
The group believes that the shake-up, along with a renewed emphasis on ethical trading, will grow membership from 600,000 to four million by 2010. Members will be encouraged to support campaigns such as climate change awareness and will get the chance to donate their share of the profits to community groups.
Co-op Group chief executive Martin Beaumont said: "At a time when communities are becoming increasingly dominated by a handful of large and impersonal businesses, we want to show consumers that there is a better alternative, one which is ultimately owned and controlled by them."
Beaumont added that the group would also introduce an intensive programme to improve service and presentation standards.