Spar: buying alliance paying off
In a move to improve its competitive position, Spar entered into a surprise deal with convenience rival the Co-op in September. The buying alliance initially focused on targeted areas of own-label products, including spirits, carbonated drinks and water. Spar trading director Chris Lewis - who was part of the team who worked on the new arrangement - said it would allow the spirits team to concentrate on new product development.
Four months down the line and this is a top priority for the retailer. Wine trading controller Liz Aked sa ys: "We've seen very good growth on own-label spirits and they showed a solid performance over the Christmas period." Range extensions and development will characterise 2007, according to Aked.
During the year Spar focused on own-label with a revamp of its lager range. The retailer also ploughed ahead with development of its own-label wine range, sourcing new wines from the New World. Spar upped its promotional activity with three-for-£10 and two-for-£8 deals on wine in a move to "increase volume and push purchase up", Aked sa ys.
This year Spar will focus on the rosé category, "because that's where a lot of growth is coming from", she add s. Sourcing unusual wine is another priority, with wine from India on the radar.
Aked predicts the ongoing consolidation of suppliers will result in a tough year for the retailer. "It's going to be a commercial year that's predominantly business dominated," she sa ys.