Major forecourt wins have helped Scottish wholesaler CJ Lang & Son increase the number of its retail partners by a quarter.

Speaking to betterRetailing at the Scottish Wholesale Awards in Edinburgh last week, CJ Lang chief executive officer Colin McLean said the company, which operates the Spar symbol group across Scotland, now has 225 independent retail partners. “We’ve managed to grow it with new accounts with fuel supplier Certas and the forecourt group Penny Petroleum. 

“We’re now trying to understand where we can take the business profitably. It’s not a numbers game. It’s about looking at company-owned stores and seeing how we can raise the bar and improve them.”

Spar Scotland is ‘number one’ says CJ Lang

When asked whether he views the expansion into the north of rival symbol groups such as Budgens as a threat, McLean added: “Competition is healthy as it forces us to raise our game. We as a business focus on what we can do and it’s my own remit to fix what I can. 

Food to go is a good example. We’ve been rolling out Costa Coffee machines throughout our business, and we’re now working on how to roll out food to go further. The experience of doing it in our company stores first will allow us to roll it out to the rest of the independents.”

The company has also hired former Ramsden International trading director Richard Collins in the same role to help the company “re-engage with suppliers”.

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