The SPAR South West Tradeshow returns with a bang!

3 May, 24
Appleby Westward, the primary SPAR wholesaler in the South West, hosted the SPAR South West tradeshow and conference in Sandy Park, Exeter on Thursday 25th April

Appleby Westward, the primary SPAR wholesaler in the South West, hosted the SPAR South West tradeshow and conference in Sandy Park, Exeter on Thursday 25th April, with presentations from the Directors of the Appleby Westward leadership team, retailer panel discussions with key Wessex Guild Members, SPAR UK representatives and plenty of contact with suppliers.

Appleby Westward Managing Director, Mike Boardman, said: “SPAR has been winning in convenience for over 60 years and during this time, retailing has had its challenges. However the convenience sector is going to continue to grow, and the symbol group market will lead it. SPAR is the right place for independent retailers to be and our partnership adds maximum value.

“From a global brand, to industry leading store designs tailored to local areas and added regional knowledge; independent SPAR retailers benefit from local store knowledge, Appleby Westward, SPAR UK and SPAR International expertise.

“We do more than delivering boxes, there are huge benefits to being in the SPAR South West club. We use our scale, range proposition, payroll and e-learning assistance, our SPAR own label range and local Wessex Guild colleagues to drive the business forward. As industry leaders there is a strong case for independent retailers to join SPAR.”

Last year SPAR invested nearly £100 million across the entire estate and will do the same this year. With several exciting, world class flagship projects on the horizon in 2024, SPAR will once again raise the bar in convenience retailing in the UK.

Ian Taylor, SPAR UK Retail Director, said: “We have world class retailers and wholesalers, coupled with great partnerships with suppliers that’s enabled us to always rise to any challenge to be at the forefront of the industry. 95% of customers rate our stores as a key driver for consideration – which is great news for us, as we have the best stores in the country.

“Community is at the heart of our brand proposition. Nurturing our neighbourhoods is in our DNA, as SPAR retailers play a huge part investing in their local community. We continue to support Marie Curie through our superb retailers and store colleagues and to date SPAR has raised over £3.5 million for the charity.”

SPAR continues to win awards across the industry for stores and retailers. With over 60 awards won this year so far, it is easy to see why, Prime and MrBeast, the new kids on the block, wanted a channel exclusive with SPAR.

SPAR UK Brand Director, Jamie Seymour, discussed the development and drive to create the best possible selection of SPAR brand products for both retailers and consumers. He said: “SPAR Brand is an estimated £400m brand at retail and includes a unique mix of locally sourced products that add provenance and regional expertise to help us demonstrate our passion for local. We have nationally sourced products available for all regions, and internationally sourced products from SPAR International, allowing us to use local retail on a global scale.”

A further presentation covered ways in which SPAR South West is working towards saving their stores money in other ways, from reducing energy costs through experts in energy management and sustainability, reducing waste costs, new range propositions based on data analysis of consumer chosen products and new time saving technology like Shoplink.

Shoplink was launched for SPAR South West stores at the Tradeshow, with demonstrations of the innovative new system which will be available in all stores by July. The web-based ordering platform is modern and user friendly with a search and add to order system as well as being able to filter and view the full available ranges.

In addition, and as part of SPAR’s retail technology offering, Socio Local, the number one social media tool for retail and hospitality, is helping to drive footfall and sales through professional social media content for all SPAR South West stores.

Presentations were followed by the retailer panel discussion, sharing real-life experiences from independent SPAR retailers. Steve Thomas, Head of Independents at Appleby Westward, said: “The greatest part of our partnership is sharing ideas, knowledge and above all helping each other as a SPAR family.”

The three retailer presenters included Paul Boxall who owns and runs a SPAR store in Pelynt near Looe in Cornwall and has been in the family for over 92 years and is one of Appleby Westwards longest trading retailers. Susan Connolly who, with her family, have three stores in Wiltshire. Their business was started by Susan’s Grandparents over 50 years ago. And Dave Allen who joined SPAR in 2018 with his family store in Beaminster. The store has been through a few developments in its time and recently extended Hogshill Stores to grow with the community needs.

The presentations closed with SPAR South West retailers energised for the summer ahead. Over 70 suppliers attended the SPAR South West tradeshow and conference and discussed new products, deals and much more with SPAR retailers and store managers before finishing off the day with the evening Awards dinner as well as a fundraising raffle where £4,060 was raised for SPAR’s charity partner Marie Curie.

The SPAR South West conference, tradeshow and awards was the perfect opportunity for SPAR retailers, suppliers, and SPAR colleagues to network and share ideas.

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