Spar: buying alliance paying off

26 January, 2007

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.

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