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Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s announced that it could make a bid for Argos owner, Home Retail Group.
In its offer statement, Sainsbury’s said that approximately 50% of the identified “synergies” are expected to be generated from in-store Argos concessions.
This will allow massive savings, from the relocation of certain existing Argos stores into concessions in Sainsbury’s stores, and revenue gains from new concessions within Sainsbury’s stores. They expect to be delivering £120m in synergy savings by the third year of the deal.
I mention this because the day before Sainsbury’s announcement I visited the Connolly Spar store in Pewsey, Wiltshire. It is a store that fits in well in this historic village with its connections to King Alfred. I was surprised to discover that there is a butcher’s counter at the back of the shop.
When I asked the on duty butcher Mike Luce about the butchery, I was surprised to hear that along with Nigel Lihou, he operated The Vale of Pewsey Butchers, and had been a tenant of the Connolly’s since last year. Mike said that the lease for their previous premises came to the end of the contracted period. The landlord was willing to offer a new lease, but Mike and his partner couldn’t accept the terms.
The question of how to continue the business was answered by Andrew Connolly when he offered to fit-out a butchery in his Spar store and was willing to rent the space to The Vale of Pewsey Butchers. This solution suited Mike as he did not wish to take on a lease that would restrict his retirement choices.
The butchery is well fitted for its job with a refrigerated servery counter, workbench and pristine white glazed tiling. It fits neatly in to the shop floor and adds significantly to what the store offers its customers.
This got me thinking. If you had the opportunity to help an important local retailer like a butcher, baker or greengrocer, would you – or could you – follow Andrew Connolly and find space in your store?
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