Henderson Group announces record financial year for Spar, Eurospar and Vivo brands

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The Henderson Group, owners of the Spar, Eurospar and VIVO brands in Northern Ireland, has announced record levels of sales, investment and jobs growth in the year ending 31 December 2016.

Ron Whitten, chief financial officer and Patrick Doody, sales & marketing director, Henderson Group, announced the annual results during the company’s Wholesale Conference in Seville, Spain at the weekend, attended by over 250 of its retailers, suppliers and staff.

Turnover has increased by 6% to £699.3m as compared to 2015, despite the competitive pressures within the grocery and foodservice sectors. Profit on ordinary activities after interest, before taxation was £23.87m, an increase of 10.9%.

In 2016, employment levels rose to 3099, an increase of 270 new jobs on 2015.

Like for like grocery sales growth of 3.5% was recorded, driven by strong performance of the fresh food categories growing in volume terms by over 8%, increasing footfall and basket spend in its supplied retailer stores. In addition, retention of existing retailers and recruitment of new retailers to its symbol brands were both key to the success in 2016.

The company said that an ongoing co-investment strategy with its retail partners to establish a market leading portfolio of supermarket, forecourt and convenience stores has boosted the strong sales performance across all its brand formats. In addition, fuel volumes in Henderson Retail Ltd (company owned stores) grew by 8.6% on a like for like basis, driving increasing footfall to the stores.

Henderson Foodservice delivered 11% growth on the previous year, performing strongly across all key market channels, with good growth in the Republic of Ireland market. The Company’s Barista Bar coffee brand, which is now available in 260 in Spar, Eurospar and VIVO stores had an exceptional year with sales up by 30% on a like-for-like basis. Henderson Foodservice was also recently awarded Deloitte Best Managed Company Gold standard.

Whitten commented on the results, saying; “Strong like for like growth across all subsidiaries, high retention rates of existing retailers, recruitment of new retailers, coupled with significant investment by the group, directly within our company owned stores as well as with its retail partners, has delivered additional sales of £40m.”

Doody added; “It was also another record year of investment by the Group, with a spend of over £34m in store acquisitions, store refurbishments and head office infrastructure, designed to future proof the business to meet consumer and retailer demands going forward.

In 2016, 16 new stores were opened under the Group’s main retail brands.

“Spar and Eurospar, in particular, continue to dominate the local symbol group scene in Northern Ireland.  A comprehensive strategic growth and profitability plan implemented in 2016 which included continued focus on delivering excellence in customer service, investing in our people, developing our information systems, maximising our operational efficiency, enhancing our fresh food ranges and in-store proposition, continues to yield results as projected.”

Employees are actively encouraged to participate in the group’s Give As You Earn scheme whereby the Group match any contribution made by an employee of the scheme. A new initiative doubling the contributions on any additional donations from new or existing members introduced in 2015 generated a further £325,000 for worthy causes in 2016.

The scheme was acknowledged as the Best Sustained Scheme and Overall Best Campaign in the U.K. National Payroll Giving Excellence awards in 2015. During the past 10 years £2,350,000 has been raised for charity through Payroll giving and the current employee participation rate is 35.3%.