SPAR Scotland, the leading convenience retailer and wholesaler in Scotland, announced plans to drive growth on a supplier video call on 4 February.
Over 250 suppliers across grocery, BWS, fresh, frozen, chilled, grocery, ambient, tobacco and food to go attended the supplier update where the executive team at SPAR Scotland provided an overview of the business since its annual conference was held on 5 November 2020.
SPAR Scotland CEO, Colin McLean, said: “The SPAR Scotland business is celebrating three years of consecutive like for like growth but we are not complacent and we are planning to build on our success. We are seeing positive confirmation that we have the right offer from both our shoppers and our independent retailers as we continue to attract new business into SPAR Scotland.”
Covid-19 has brought shopper behaviour changes. Footfall has dropped, basket spend has increased and the pattern is set to continue until normal trading resumes. Over the past year, SPAR Scotland stores have seen footfall drop by around 16% but basket spend has increased by over 35%.
“Our priority has been on staff and customer health and safety, product availability and service. Our long term ambition for the business remains unchanged. Our strategy is committed to long term profitable growth. Growing sales and our retailer network and attracting more customers continues to play a key role as we operate at the heart of communities. As a result we are looking to work with the support of suppliers to maximise our ambition,” said McLean.
McLean added that they are not being complacent. “We are building the business and continue to work on our back to basics programme towards 2025 and beyond.”
Suppliers heard how the business is building a SPAR Scotland future programme which will look to achieve better engagement with existing and new customers; improve brand awareness, launch new model stores and invest in store formats, range development and developing its home delivery service with Snappy Shopper.
Other future initiatives include:
• A new SPAR Scotland website is already live and to support its retailer recruitment drive an independent retailer website and integrated app will launch later in the year
• With value becoming more important than ever, the company is continuing its store execution and supporting with TV advertising scheduled throughout 2021/22
• The partnership with SalesTrack allows suppliers to understand category performances. The wholesale data site is now live
• The company is investing in a new IT programme, testing and trialling new ways of working, such as electronic shelf-edge labels in selected stores
• SPAR Scotland has extended its grassroots partnership with the SFA and the sponsorship of the Scotland Women’s National Team
• SPAR Scotland is launching its second Community Cashback campaign in March to giveaway a further £30,000 to community groups and charities
The next SPAR Scotland conference will take place on a virtual platform on 23 September 2021 where sustainability will be on the agenda.
“Like many businesses, we are dealing with the here and now, but we have the confidence and the courage to face forward and make changes,” he said.
“Our business is unpredictable and always changing but we are very much focused on what we can control. We work with SPAR UK, our SPAR wholesaler partners and SPAR International sharing ideas and best practice.
“SPAR Scotland has changed and we are looking to work with suppliers, building trust to build a customer focused business,” said McLean.
CJ Lang & Son Limited is Scotland's largest independent retailing and distribution company. We have been based in Dundee since 1919, we provide award-winning service to almost 300 SPAR stores throughout the whole of Scotland.