SPAR UK embarks on major review of formats, brand and proposition

Patrick Mitchell-Fox
Senior Retail Analyst
@RetailAnalysis

Date : 13 March 2020

Speaking to Independent Retail News, Louise Hoste, Managing Director of SPAR UK, has outlined the plans for the group to create an updated blueprint for its stores, product offer and brand positioning to take it forward into 2021 and beyond.

Consolidating development underway in regions

Building on trials and format evolution already being undertaken by the regional distributors that support the SPAR network nationwide, the new blueprint will bring together the best practice now emerging in some of the innovative execution seen in the latest SPAR stores.  Recent examples include the urban transient format opened by CJ Lang on Havannah Street, Glasgow and that opened by Hendersons at Kilwaughter, Larne in Northern Ireland.  In both these cases these stores combine a range of concepts and features to target a breadth of daily needs and treats for on-the-go consumption alongside a down-sized grocery offer.

To adopt Blakemore five-way store segmentation

The work being done by SPAR central office will take on the framework for clustering stores established by the distributor Blakemore, which classifies stores around the core shoppers missions they serve, nuanced with in-depth demographic data for the catchments around them.  The five store types are: kiosk, convenience, big-basket, fresh-first and on-the-go.  The concepts are to be trialled further in a group of 10 stores in the coming months, before the concepts are finalised for roll-out after October.

To be backed with research on brand perception

Alongside the format development work, SPAR will also undertake an extensive consultation on public views of the SPAR brand and what shoppers want from a local store.  Commenting to Independent Retail News, Louise Hoste commented: 'Does it have to stay in convenience, or could it be something broader?  But how far down the food-to-go mission, for example, could a SPAR store go?  Of course, a big chunk of our business is still in core grocery, BWS, tobacco and impulse confectionery, but it's about getting the balance right.'