The Blakemore Trade Partner’s (BTP) SPAR Retail Show (SRS) this year focused on the theme of ‘Sustainable Growth’ culminating in one retailer receiving a £100,000 investment fund to develop their business.
Held at Telford International Centre on 15 June, the SPAR Retail Show brought together 1,300 retailers, suppliers and industry guests for a remarkable day of trade shows, conferences and awards. At the event, SPAR retailer Sat Deo secured the top investment fund, while Welsh SPAR retailer Elfed Roberts was honoured with the coveted Baldwin cup.
This year the SRS conference, provided a platform for the Blakemore Trade Partners team to outline their plans for the upcoming year, with a key emphasis on supporting retailers to grow profitable and sustainable businesses. Louis Drake, Commercial Director, opened the conference, remarking: “Convenience continues to experience formidable growth, offering opportunities for all our partners. Our focus is on providing the right proposition for our customers, differentiating ourselves from the competition and delivering outstanding results.”
Newly appointed CEO Carol Welch took the stage to highlight BTP’s unique approach to partnering with retailers. In her inaugural speech, she centred on the Blakemore Way, which connects People and Partnerships to “create unique, trusted relationships where real people take an interest in all aspects of retailers’ businesses,” she said.
Members of the BTP team highlighted how their approach to combining real people with data analytics had driven value and scale for retailers this year. Despite the challenging environment, there is huge optimism about the future, with convenience projected to outperform the market over the next five years. David Cooke, Group Commercial Director at A.F. Blakemore, focused on category growth and the significance of investing in fresh produce. He highlighted SPAR’s exceptional performance in the total convenience market, particularly in fresh, chilled, and teatime categories.
The company’s strategy for disruptor brands like PRIME has yielded numerous benefits for retailers, attracting younger demographics and new families to stores. The BTP team also outlined their plans for ongoing innovation this year.
Testimonials from two independent SPAR retailers, including Jenny Donaghy from community forecourt site SPAR Llandrinio and Giles Morrell of SPAR Compton. Donaghy won the £100,000 Big Investment Award at last year’s SRS and detailed how invaluable it has been for her family in taking their SPAR store and forecourt to the next level.
Morrell emphasised the success of the adoption of the SPAR Market format at Compton, the introduction of new product ranges, and the expansion of the food-to-go offering to boost sales, profits and customer loyalty.
Sarah Ellis, Group Marketing Director, underscored the importance of social media in today’s convenience sector, while Sales Director Bev Bailey revealed the Stock and Sell (SAS) initiative for independent retailers, which resulted in an average 44% increase in sales and improved margins. Bailey announced further innovation with the SAS initiative, extending the £10,000 worth of free stock to smaller and on-the-go cluster stores. She also highlighted the success of retailer roadshows, enabling peers to strategise and enhance in-store experiences.
Impressive results from the 2022 retailer re-fits showcased the power of personalised and trusted support in delivering value and scale, with an average 12% or £78k performance increase. The exceptional collaboration between the BTP team and retailers resulted in customer-centric stores catering to evolving needs. It was announced retailers have the opportunity to receive up to £15,000 to enhance the appearance, atmosphere and flow of their stores.
The trade show featured an impressive line-up of 220 suppliers, making it the largest event of its kind in the UK. The show offered retailers a unique opportunity to stay ahead of the competition by exploring what’s popular and upcoming in the market. Attendees had the chance to connect with numerous brands across various categories, fostering introductions and meaningful conversations.
Additional winners of the SRS2023 awards included SPAR Great Bookham, SPAR Lindford, SPAR Fishtoft, SPAR LLandrinio, and supplier winners such as Nestle confectionery, Coca Cola, Fuel10k, Hovis, and Heineken.
For a full summary and highlights of the event, please visit the AF Blakemore Twitter feed https://twitter.com/af_blakemore