2020 Vision: SPAR Scotland holds virtual trade show, reports sales rise

November 9, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: All News

On Thursday 5 November, SPAR Scotland took its annual trade show virtual, presenting a business update as well as the full financial year results. Themed ‘2020 Vision’, the event presented an opportunity for suppliers to promote NPD, new ways of working as well as sharing industry and category knowledge. Focus areas included SPAR Scotland’s growing data-driven, digitally enabled initiatives, which will support retailers and suppliers in meeting the changing customer needs within convenience retailing.

Attracting a record number of attendees, the trade show included interactive platforms where suppliers and partners could connect and learn more about what SPAR Scotland has achieved during the pandemic. In attendance were independent SPAR retailers, company-owned store managers and head office staff, trade press, industry bodies, as well as SPAR UK and SPAR International.

Rise in sales and underlying profits
Scottish SPAR wholesaler CJ Lang & Son CEO Colin McLean has also shared details of full financial year results. SPAR Scotland has reported a rise in sales and underlying profits for the year ending 30 April 2020 as it continues to implement its strategy for growth. 

Building on the growth achieved in 2018/19 turnover has increased by 3.4%, to £194.2 million (€214.7 million). Underlying pre-tax profits have doubled to £1.5 million. The results include the impact of the very early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, which saw an increase in demand in the final six weeks of the financial year. It also includes additional investment made in stores to create safe environments for customers and employees.      

“The onset of COVID-19 at the end of the last financial year, and the subsequent months that followed, have seen the retail landscape completely change”, Colin McLean said. “Our primary focus has been the continued wellbeing of our staff and customers. We have invested in our stores, distribution centre and offices to ensure that we have created safe environments for all.”

“Being solely Scottish focussed has enabled us to adapt quickly and react flexibly to the changing retail landscape whilst continuing to provide a first-class service to our independent retail customers, consumers and communities at a time when they have needed us most”, he said.

“Prior to the onset of COVID-19, our business was already growing, buoyed by the development of our food-to-go offer; a continued focus on improving and implementing consistent store standards; the development of our independent retailer customer base; and improvements to our offer in order to meet the changing customer needs within convenience retailing.”

Source: SPAR UK

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The UK became a member of SPAR in 1956 when a group of independent wholesalers was granted the SPAR licence by SPAR International. There are five regional partners in the UK with strategically placed Distribution Centres in each region. A central office, located in London, provides national marketing and buying services for the group and supports the development of the brand

SPAR has led the convenience market in the UK for many years but has faced increasing competition. Always innovative, the five regional partners have continued to grow the brand. Throughout the UK, a combination of independently-owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores can be found, spanning forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhoods.