Spar has pledged to help its retailers invest in developing their stores with a new match-funding scheme worth £2m.
Speaking at the Spar Retail Show, Neil Mercer, sales director at Blakemore Trade Partners, said the company was focusing additional investment in helping stores to redevelop their businesses and promote what they do to customers.
The investment includes a new PoS system, where stores can create personalised PoS and leaflets, and send text messages to people living locally, as well as match funding available to every retailer in its Retail Partners Scheme.
“We’re absolutely putting our money where our mouth is,” said Mercer. “If you talk to us about a development for your store – however big or small that project might be – for every pound you put on the table, we’ll match it with a pound of our own. We’ve put aside an investment fund of £2m to make that happen.”
At the launch of the ACS Local Shop Report earlier this month, Spar retailer Susan Connolly, who runs four stores in Wiltshire, said retailers need to look at investing in their businesses to drive sales up and costs down.
Since investing £1.2m in expanding and refurbishing one of her Spar shops, her sales have risen by 36% and her margins are up 5%. She pointed to new technology such as shelf-edge labelling and an electronic tobacco vending machine as investments that save the business money.
“Although we were spending a lot of money, we were also looking at how to recoup money,” she said. “They save staff time. We have to make sure staff are utilised as much as possible because they cost so much more now.”
The ACS Local Shop Report found that, on average, unaffiliated retailers invested £8,037 in their shops in the past year, while symbol stores invested £14,145.