Local shopping lifts sales at Spar UK

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Spar UK has posted a 3.1% sales increase in the three months to end July 2010, lifted by the trend to shop locally and growth in sales of own brand products, fresh food and wine.

Spar said its 2,583 stores benefited from tailoring the offer to the communities they serve, with bespoke product ranges and services meeting the needs of customers on a store-by-store level.

Jerry Marwood, Spar UK managing director, said: “Spar stores are succeeding because each of them is tailor-made for the community it serves. Retailers in the Spar group are positively encouraged to be innovative in the range of products and services they offer.

“That rejection of a one-size-fits-all approach to retail means our stores have been quicker to respond to what customers are asking for and have been free to cater to different and changing customer needs in their local communities.”

Promotions and meal deals performed well for the retailer with sales of promoted items up 28.8% year-on-year, with a strong performance on fresh food promotions (up 36.3%) and grocery (up  28.1%).

Spar said the figures indicated it has become the extended larder on the corner of its customers’ streets with key developments in own brand, fresh food and wine.

Sales of Spar’s extended range of own brand products grew 4.4% in the three months to end-July, compared to the previous year. Further developments are in the pipeline.

Sales of fresh food and produce grew 3.9% overall, with sales of fresh vegetables up 10.4%, fresh fruit up 20% and fresh meat and poultry up by 5%.
The re-development of Spar’s wine portfolio yielded results with sales up 3.5% year-on-year, buoyed by a 151% rise in sales of South African wines during the World Cup and a wine festival across 2,100 licensed Spar stores.

Looking forward, Marwood said continued store and service innovations were vital to maintaining Spar’s success through 2010 and into 2011.

“On a category basis, we’ve seen strong performances across fresh food and wine in particular. This suggests every week we are now seen by our 15m customers as delivering the products they need to make a home-cooked meal, to pick up food on-the-go or to buy some quality wine to go with the Sunday lunch. We will continue to focus on enhancing this and encouraging our retailers to find more product lines with genuine local provenance, as well as improving our fresh food offering.

“With rising petrol prices and consumers looking to manage their finances on a daily basis, we have seen our local relationships with our customers grow and become much more meaningful during tough times. We know people are reassured by familiarity, good old-fashioned interaction and the social connections they get from stores owned and managed by people who make a contribution to the local community.”