Spar distributor AF Blakemore is encouraging its members to refit their stores with an offer to cover any loss made on the cost of the transformation, the company revealed at its annual conference in Birmingham.

Under its guaranteed investment scheme, Blakemore will make up the difference between the increase in profits as a result of the refurbishment and the retailer's leasing payments or bank charges.

Blakemore Distribution managing director Dennis Evans said: "When we ask retailers about refitting their main concern is the risk of losing money. This scheme takes that risk away - we will underwrite their investment. We believe this is an industry first."

He added he was confident that neither Blakemore nor the retailer would lose out, as all the stores so far converted in Spar's Store of the Future project had seen significant rises in turnover. "To date every refit has paid for itself - there are huge opportunites in areas such as food to go and premium bread and we will help retailers develop these."

Blakemore will work with each store to agree a level of investment in its refit, and the work will be carried out by its shopfitting division CSL.

Stores wishing to take advantage will also be asked to sign up to Blakemore's terms scheme, which requires them to install the SparPos system, commit to loyalty requirements and comply with promotions.