A trial of a small-format store has seen furniture sales escalate for BrightHouse, which plans to roll out the format across the country according to trade journal Retail Week.

The rent-to-own retailer, which besides furniture majors in home technology and white goods, is now planning to open sub-1,000sqft shops across the country.

Two circa 750sqft shops will open in Dumbarton and Farnworth this week, to join the first ‘trial’ store in Saltcoats in Scotland. The locations are indicative of the type of community being targeted, in that they are smaller locations near to larger towns already with BrightHouse shops and an existing infrastructure.

CEO Leo McKee said the stores will show less product but utilise interactive screens to enable potential customers to see its full furniture range, something that has seen “furniture sales be higher than the chain norm.”

Besides smaller towns, BrightHouse could open the format on shopping parades in residential areas such as housing estates, away from the town-centre but in areas attracting some footfall thanks to post offices and convenience stores.

BrightHouse grew sales by more than 12 per cent to £333m in 2013–14, growing the store estate to 286 stores. It believes there is the scope to open around 140 of the smaller stores as part of its broader plan to open 20 stores per year over the next few years.