Earlier this year I took a look at the Euro Shopper brand that Booker sell in the UK and asked myself whether we should also stock this range. As a Spar retailer I decided that the process of sourcing this range would not be sufficiently convenient for us as the nearest Booker depot is more than 10 miles from our store.

Our Spar business development advisor visited us in August to introduce the new S Budget range. Like the Euro Shopper brand S Budget has been made available across many European countries. The brand originated in Austria, but was first launched in Hungary back in April 2008. This event was quickly followed by its launch in Austria then the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia by the end of that year. The next country was Ireland in 2010 and this month Spar stores in the UK started to get the S Budget range. No doubt it will be adopted in other countries where Spar operates.

Stores in the convenience sector, just like the supermarkets, need to offer a wider range of prices in difficult economic times.  For instance our standard Spar tin of chopped tomatoes are 55p whereas we are now stocking and selling the S Budget can for 33p. We sell Red Bull at £1.42 and the S Budget Energy Drink at 42p. The early best sellers in the range for us were the energy drink and chopped tomatoes followed by orange juice, kitchen rolls and 2lt cola.

“With consumers feeling the pinch, they often prefer not to have budget brands ‘advertised’ in their shopping baskets.”

Kate Waddell of branding agency Dragon Rouge warned in The Grocer: S Budget makes lots of sense from an international consistency angle, but it’s a tough fit with the UK consumer. S Budget lands hard with the budget message. With consumers feeling the pinch, they often prefer not to have this aspect of their budgeting ‘advertised’ in their shopping baskets.”

My response to this is that if consumers in an affluent village such as West Chiltington are buying it because of the blatant value and price proposition then maybe Spar retailers should not be too worried by the brand design.  However it’s clear that the range will only work if Spar retailers increase the volumes sold. The evidence given by the three weeks that we have stocked the range suggests that it will be a worthwhile addition but stores will need a longer period to get a proper understanding of the impact the range will have on profitability.