SPAR UK meets surge in supply demand

March 23, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: COVID-19

Amid the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of SPAR stores around the UK are meeting exceptional customer demand by maintaining a high level of stock availability and service. With the five supplying wholesalers to SPAR – Henderson Group, CJ Lang & Son Ltd, James Hall & Co, AF Blakemore & Son Ltd, and Appleby Westward – reporting rises in volumes of up to 200% in ambient, fresh, and frozen categories, teams of people are working around the clock to meet store demand.

With 2,600 stores around the UK, SPAR UK is reporting huge volume increases this week in orders, whilst supplying wholesalers maintain excellent logistical services to SPAR and EUROSPAR stores.

“Our SPAR stores are open, the shelves are stocked and we are meeting demand. We
are urging the general public to shop local, little, and often”, said Louise Hoste, SPAR UK Managing Director. “We have a very good supply of food, drink or non food essentials, and as long as people do not panic buy, we can continue to meet the needs of local communities.” Hoste applauds the role of independent retailers around the UK. “Never has it been more important to work together and support our network of SPAR stores who are fully committed to fulfilling their important role within local communities. We, in turn, are focused on our obligation to meet their store needs”, she said. “The future of independent retailing and wholesaling is in our hands and every one of our wholesalers is fully committed to providing every store it supplies with the best service.” Along with providing a top class logistics system including timely delivery schedules, SPAR’s five wholesalers have been supporting members in a number of ways. All are communicating on a daily basis and providing staff from depot to stores with support in terms of working hours, shift patterns, up to date information and advice, in-store customer communication, and advice on social distancing.

Ensuring employee safety

All possible measures have been taken to ensure employees are available with the most recent COVID-19 advice and health and safety measures. Where possible shift patterns and remote working is in place and there is a huge recruitment drive in progress throughout the business, in particular the need for lorry drivers. SPAR UK is adjusting roles in the entire business to meet spikes in demand. In some instances,
store staff are making local deliveries to the aged and vulnerable and sales teams are making deliveries to stores. “We are urging those who are qualified and in need of work to visit each of the SPAR wholesalers’ websites to see what roles are available”, said Louise Hoste. “We have a very agile logistics system which is set up to deliver under any circumstance. We have 2,600 stores and employ 40,000 people and our duty is to serve them so they can successively serve their customers.”
“I would like to thank our incredible store staff who are being brilliant at keeping customers calm.
We are very grateful to our retailers for their commitment and hard work in maintaining high standards at a time when customers need us the most and to our suppliers and partners, thank you for continuing to support us in keeping the supply chain moving”, Louise Hoste concluded.


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.