The Steimatzky book store chain will invest NIS 15 million this year to launch three new flagship stores and open an additional seven outlets, while also revamping its smaller, old-fashioned walk-in shops across the country. "The idea and focus behind the new revamped concept of our stores will be on providing value for customers and building cultural centers," said Iris Barel, who last August took up her position as CEO of Steimatzky. "In each shop a different buying experience will be created according to the needs and interests of the area." The first of the new flagship stores, covering 100 square meters, is being launched this week in Tel Aviv's trendy and young Shenkin area at an investment of NIS 500,000. "The store on Shenkin Street will to a large extent offer books on meditation, philosophy and jazz music as well as homosexual and lesbian literature, while the second flagship store to be opened over the next two weeks in the Grand Canyon mall in Haifa will be much larger, covering 400 square meters, and include a sit down, cafe area," said Barel. The third flagship store, to be located in the new Mamilla development opposite the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, will cover about 750 square meters, compared to the average 60-100 square meter stores the chain currently operates. In addition to the flagship shops, Steimatzky is planning to launch another seven book stores in different cities across the country including Beersheba, Dimona and Nazareth. "Some of the new stores will stay open until 10 at night and offer Internet and intranet points for customer search," noted Barel. Steimatzky is also planning to initiate a members club, which will offer discounts on a diverse range of products sold at the chain including books, DVDs and CDs as well as cultural events such as author and book readings for members. In addition, members will be given the opportunity to make early purchases of books set for release. The change in strategy comes 17 months after investment firm Markstone Capital Group bought the company from the Steimatzky family for an estimated NIS 200m. Heading into the Pessah holiday, Steimatzky said it expecting book sales to be up some 12.5 percent.