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When Ian McCabe carried out a major refurbishment four months ago, Spar was on hand to help
Store numbers: 2,600
Number of UK retail members: 1,020 independent retailers owning 2,600 stores
Membership costs: No joining fees. Membership is free for one year
On the back of six years of continual growth, Spar is continuing to thrive in a changing market under four fascias – Spar, Spar Express, Eurospar and Spar Market.
Every Spar retailer is assigned a business development manager to provide crucial support in store operations, store standards and compliance along with developing sales, margins and business management Retailers have access to a 1,000-strong own-label range in categories such as alcohol, grocery, fresh foods, frozen and confectionery.
The range is delivering £300m in sales.
More recently, Spar has developed its Daily Deli foodservice offering with more fresh food including butchery and deli counters.
The company’s Guild system influences the development and execution of the strategy for growth in line with retailers’ needs.
The system also gives retailers insight from competitors and on consumer trends, and explains how to implement them in store.
It’s this level of support that makes Spar so valuable to Cornwall retailer Ian McCabe.
“We decided we wanted to change groups eight years ago. We put a lot of thought into which symbol to go with and, ultimately, Spar had a much better product offering, particularly in chilled.
“It was a good choice – Spar’s product availability, at 98%, has been a big improvement. Promotions are crucial in our store – they draw customers in and then customers buy other products, too.
“The promotions pack supplied by Spar is strong, particularly on beer and wine, which are important categories for us. And the point of sale is much more professional.
“Spar has also supported us with our back-office work and staff, not just with selling its products. It provides training for our staff, either online or in store, which helps us run a more professional operation.”
Professionalism: “The support has always been exceptionally professional and that professionalism has been mirrored in our shop. They provided uniforms for the staff so they are all in clothes with Spar logos.”
Own-brand goods: “We’re in a big student area and own-branded goods are strong sellers. Spar has a fantastic range that it is constantly tweaking to match trends. It is particularly strong on own-brand alcohol.”
Help and support: “We did a big refit four months ago – redoing the whole store and adding five metres of chiller space – and Spar’s advice was indispensable. We designed it together and used its recommended shop fitter, who was fantastic.”