AF Blakemore director bows out after 45 years in retail

Davies: giving customers what they want in convenience

Elwyn Davies, retail development director at AF Blakemore, the Spar retailer and wholesaler, is retiring today after spending over 45 years in the retail industry and 27 years with Spar.

Davies started his retail career with his uncle, RJ Davies, in Aberdovey, mid-Wales.

In 1968 he joined Sainsbury’s as a management trainee and was involved in implementing a new ordering system in 1970. He went on to manage several Sainsbury’s stores, including the retailer’s first branch in Wales.

He rose to be a top Sainsbury’s store manager before joining Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore in 1983 as sales manager, becoming sales director in 1985 and subsequently retail development director.

During his career at AF Blakemore, Davies has seen group sales grow from £9m to a turnover in excess of £640m and distributing to 700 Spar stores including 210 company-owned outlets.

Davies helped developed the retailer’s category management approach and introduce new product groups such as news, greeting cards and food-to-go.

In the early 1990s he worked with Blakemore as it expanded by acquiring Tates, W&P and Lo-Cost.

A pioneer in the early days of convenience store development, Spar said Davies has made a tremendous contribution to the development of independent retailers.

He has also been a central figure at Spar, serving as Spar guild chairman and Spar national guild board director.

Jerry Marwood, Spar UK managing director said: “Personally, Elwyn has been one of those people who have always been at the end of the phone for a chat or a quick piece of advice if I needed it – and also on a number of times when I hadn’t realised that I needed it.

“He has a passion for this sector of the business that is rare – it’s rare in its ferocity and in its genuine desire to see other people succeed.”

Davies said: “Retail is exciting and I always aimed at giving customers what they wanted from their local convenience store.”