SPAR UK national conference: Harnessing the power of the past, to be the force for the future

November 7, 2022 IN THE CATEGORY: Own Brand and Suppliers

  • SPAR UK MD Louise Hoste addresses colleagues at the 2022 national SPAR UK conference in Gran Canaria.

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Four hundred people attended SPAR UK’s national conference, which took place on the island of Gran Canaria 4-8 October 2022.

Delegates from the UK convenience retail sector travelled to Gran Canaria to have the opportunity to spend time with independent SPAR retailers operating stores and forecourt sites from around the country, SPAR store managers, and representatives from leading FMCG suppliers.

SPAR’s shareholders and senior figures from SPAR’s five wholesale distribution centres and colleagues from SPAR UK central office also attended.

Sharing experiences

Speaking at the conference, Louise Hoste, SPAR UK Managing Director, said, “The SPAR national conference is an exciting opportunity for guests to share their retail experiences and hear how SPAR continues to lead within the UK’s convenience sector.

“SPAR is delivering robust growth well ahead of the symbol sector and continues to report year-on-year sales increases. We are outperforming our competitor set in value growth and seeing smaller trips to stores growing by 10%. This footfall growth is a massive opportunity, especially when we capitalise on it with extra items in the basket.

“The convenience market is best placed for independent retailers, and independent retailers are thriving with SPAR. The opportunity to grow is also supported by customer sentiment for wanting to continue to shop locally. We want to support this sustained solid performance. That is why we are committing to investing £122 million over the next 12 months in stores and the supply chain after spending £125 million last year.

“There are some great customer opportunities to make us the force for the future as we continue to focus on our vision of being the most compelling and competitive convenience proposition in the country. We will do this by leveraging our unique partnership and the strength of our distinctive SPAR Brand. We will provide innovative and profitable retail solutions to all our independent retailers, enabling them to serve local communities in ways that exceed customer expectations.”

Charity donation

Delegates attending SPAR UK biennial conferences, like the one held in Gran Canaria this year, are passionate about supporting charitable organisations. As well as supporting SPAR UK’s national charity partner, Marie Curie, SPAR supported Caritas Diocesana, a local charity in Gran Canaria.

Following a silent auction, a cheque presentation of £28,172 was made to Marie Curie. £28,172 was also given to Caritas Diocesana at the end of the Gala dinner on Friday, 7 October.

The 2024 SPAR national conference will take place in Sun City, South Africa,  12-16 March 2024.

Source: SPAR UK

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The UK became a SPAR member in 1956 when SPAR International granted the SPAR licence to a group of independent wholesalers. As a result, there are now five regional partners in the UK. A central office in London provides national marketing and buying services for the group.

SPAR has led the highly competitive convenience market in the UK for many years. Always innovative, the five regional partners continue to grow the brand. SPAR UK comprises independently owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores. These include forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhood stores.

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