Earlier this month, Blakemore revealed their nine top retailers at the Spar Retail Show in Telford, Shropshire. Here, we look at what you can learn for each award winner.

Best Grab and Eat
Spar Hillcroft refitted their store twice since 2016. In 2018, they took part in A.F. Blakemore’s Flagship Store Programme which focused heavily on their food offering and how it could be made relevant each season.

Top tip: Become a destination for grab-and-eat products all year round by offering fresh ice cream and milkshakes in the summer, and soups and pizza slices in the winter.  

Best Making a Meal

Spar Bassingham has been trading for more than 20 years with Spar and has been recently refitted as part of the Flagship Store programme. The store meets the needs of its local community with a wide range of grocery and fresh foods, and also offers an award-winning butchery and deli counter.

Top tip: Stand out from the crowd with fresh food by working with a local butchers and offering a deli counter

Best Promotional Implementation

Roadchef Clacket Lane trade on a motorway services, so have to compete directly with other leading brands. They consistently create eye-catching front-of-store displays, and display promotional posters and PoS throughout the store highlight deals.

Top tip: Invest in electronic shelf-edge labels to make promoting and altering prices more effective.

Best Independent Forecourt

Spar Hockmeyer Motors. The Hockmeyer family’s view is that continually developing your services, range and ideas will result in a successful, prosperous business.  Their refit as part of the Flagship Store programme allowed them to further develop and improve their range, increasing chilled space and focusing on snacking lines.

Top tip: Offer eco-friendly solutions, such as a free-to-use water fountain, wooden cutlery and recyclable drink stirrers.

Best Multi Site Forecourt

Euro Garages – Thame maintains exceptionally high standards and this has been reflected in the sales the store are generating. They are one of the highest preforming sites in the Euro Garage group and have been used as an example of best practice for stores across Europe. Thame have a hard working team of staff and consistently attain store margins around 40%.

Top tip: Work with your police on local initiatives, such as the ‘safe place’ scheme, which helps lost or vulnerable people

Best Community Engagement

Spar Castle Acre see their local community as part of their extended family. They support a number of local good causes and have done for many years, including local sports clubs, primary schools, rotary clubs and their local fundraising committee – often being the first port of call when clubs or events need to advertise and provide information to the local community.

Top tip: Offer home delivery for customers and provide shopping accounts for elderly residents

The Big Investment

Spar Ruskington is a third generation family business, established in 1971, which started as a fuel station, workshop and small garage shop. In 2010, their new 1,600sq ft store was launched under the Spar facia to allow them to cater for convenience and fuel customer needs. In 2015, they invested again, installing new fuel tanks and pumps which increased sales by 30%. The investment will enable the introduction of a predominantly fresh range and the long-term plan is to continue the family heritage, improving the range and services available in-store.

Top tip: Continually invest in your store to stay relevant with changing shopper needs and food trends.

Baldwin Cup

Richard Barron of Barron’s of Chesterfield has traded with Spar in Derbyshire for more than 20 years. Over the past 10 years, he has continued to purchase and invest in Spar stores – now running six in and around Chesterfield and Hope Valley. Two of his stores have had major refits in past 12 months as part of A.F. Blakemore’s award winning Flagship Store Programme.

Top tip: Embrace new opportunities, particularly with regards to fresh offerings such as food to go and evening meals.

Spar also announced at the show that they would make £2.3m in investment available to their retailers, as well as easier access to leasing for store developments and a new scheme that will offer a quarterly rebate of up to 6%.