SPAR retail sales increased 4.0% to €3.2 billion (£2.82 billion) in 2017, despite the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and a weakened pound. The results were announced in SPAR International’s Annual Report 2017 and mark five years of consecutive growth for SPAR UK.
Net store numbers in the UK remained steady compared to 2016 at 2,620 at year-end, operating from a retail selling area of 384,094m² across the country. SPAR in the UK employs approximately 40,000 people.
UK is “one of the most competitive markets”
At a global level SPAR International said sales grew 5.3%, on a constant currency basis. Across the Eurozone sales rose by 4% to €16.2 bn, with SPAR Netherlands +7.7%, SPAR Spain +5.5%, SPAR Ireland +4.8% and SPAR Austria +4.4%.
In SPAR International’s Annual Review, the retailer acknowledged that the United Kingdom “continues to be one of the most competitive markets in which to operate in the convenience sector”. It credited the strength of its business is to “the stability, determination and resilience of the five wholesale partners”.
SPAR International Annual Report 2017: UK highlights
In its Annual Report, SPAR International highlighted a number of initiatives in which SPAR UK had played a key role for the group:
Health & wellbeing: Building on the success of the SPAR Natural concept, SPAR UK’s Henderson Group developed a design solution that brings products together in one zone under a Health and Wellbeing umbrella. The concept was successfully trialled in six EUROSPAR stores and is currently being rolled out to the rest of the estate through 2018.
Tailored services: The introduction of Amazon self-service delivery lockers in SPAR UK locations is an example of how SPAR is tailoring its offering and services to different markets by increasingly personalising the customer experience.
Leveraging global scale: The warehouse buying group led by the Netherlands and UK, coordinated the buying of warehouse shrink wrap, using its global scale to secure a 31% saving. Using best practice from international network, a new cutting-edge 16,700m² warehouse was built to supply stores across Northern Ireland.
Responsible retailing: Henderson Group reduced its environmental impact at the same time as lowering its operating costs by upgrading its refrigerated delivery fleet
Supply chain collaboration and efficiency: The UK was part of a group focussing on the end-to-end supply chain shared best practice on inventory optimisation and reduction which is now available for all partners. Henderson Group has implemented an electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) system to optimise delivery fleet efficiency.
Embracing technologies: Building on the systems used by SPAR Norway, AF Blakemore is working with a Norway-based retail software provider to modernise its technology with solutions such as self-scanning, self-checkout, mobile point of sale and mobile back-office operations such as real-time sales reporting, Food-To-Go preparation, task management and store logistics.
Digital engagement: James Hall in the UK ran a pilot programme of allowing customers to order their Christmas shopping online for collection at their local SPAR store.
Developing talent: SPAR Partner initiatives in 2017 include the SPAR Inspire Residential, a SPAR UK leadership programme to develop store managers.
Celebrating 60 years: SPAR UK celebrated its 60th anniversary. Over 1,700 retailers, wholesalers, store staff and suppliers attended a spectacular celebration in Manchester city centre. Over £100,000 was raised at the event for SPAR UK’s new charity partner Marie Curie. Through further donations prior to the event and a commitment from the SPAR UK Board to double the money raised, a total of £640,000 was donated to Marie Curie
SPAR UK at IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018
Hear Debbie Robinson, managing director of SPAR UK, and her senior team present their leadership briefing at this year's must-attend summit, 26 & 27 September.
IGD Convenience Retailing Summit 2018
26-27 September, London
Convenience continues to outpace big store formats. This year we have launched a two-day event to help you explore every opportunity, possibility and future trend to boost your business.
Find out more »