Redevelopment Shows Increase In Sales by Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer


A redevelopment scheme at a Dorset SPAR store has expanded selling space by one third to enhance the convenience offer for customers.

Olly Andrews, who runs Maiden Newton Service Station in partnership with his mother Melody, undertook the development as part of an overall improvement programme including the Texaco fuel station and workshops.

In a co-investment project with Appleby Westward, the SPAR store has been increased to nearly 1,200 sq. ft. to develop space for chilled produce, beers wines and spirits and frozen food.

Olly became involved in the business 18 months ago when his father Mike died, having previously been involved in business management in electronics. His parents had run the service station for 40 years, and the shop had been with SPAR for the last ten.

“We regard our SPAR business as a convenience store with a forecourt, rather than a forecourt store,” said Olly. “Our customer base is very much local people from the village and nearby who use us for convenience shopping, and so we decided to expand the store to meet their needs even better.”

Chilled space has been increased from three to four bays, the beers, wines and spirits section from two to three bays, and frozen food from a single chest freezer to a 2 x 2 door upright, providing better display and availability.

Sales in January were up on the previous January by £6,000, and up on December 2012. “Each section that we expanded has shown an increase in sales,” said Olly. “We are very happy with the overall refit and delighted with the results – it has completely opened up the store to display the whole range and gives a warm and friendly feel to our customers.”

The featured article above was from Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer.



Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer: Mark Oliver Supports ACS


Mark Oliver, who runs a SPAR store in Sturminster Marshall, Dorset, was among the audience at the recent top level Heart of the Community Conference in London, organised by the Association of Convenience Stores.

“It was a very useful and informative meeting,” said Mark. “Retailers in SPAR need to get behind the ACS in support of its various efforts on our behalf.” He said that one of the underlying messages that came across from the conference was a recommendation to independent retailers to get themselves under the fascia of a symbol group sooner rather than later.

The ACS campaigns on behalf of 33,500 stores in the UK and the conference, the biggest political meeting of its kind in the local shop sector, attracted a cross-party representation of MP’s, including Mark Prisk, the Minister for Housing and Local Growth.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, called for retailers to make a national impact by engaging with decision makers at a local level and becoming civic leaders in their own right within their communities.

He told the audience: “We are entering into an unprecedented era of local decision making on issues like crime, planning and alcohol licensing. This is a golden opportunity for convenience retailers to establish themselves as civic leaders in their communities by engaging with Community Alcohol Partnerships, the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners and local planners.”

Mark Prisk said: “It’s a tough time for retailers, which is why this Government is doing all it can to help retailers adapt and so compete for more custom. A thriving convenience sector is part of this, which is why we have acted to help small firms with business rate relief, cut their corporation tax rates and are now helping our town centres and high streets compete.”

The featured article above was from Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer.

Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer: Somerset Garage Re-Develops


Businessman Laurence Haring has moved his forecourt store to SPAR as part of a two-stage redevelopment of his Somerset garage business geared towards meeting the needs of the local community.

Laurence, who operates Buncombes Garage on the A38 just south of the centre of Highbridge, decided the forecourt store needed a recognised brand in order to attract more custom, and after talking to a number of symbol groups he decided to switch to SPAR.

“We felt SPAR offered us the best way forward,” said Laurence. “We wanted to be part of a group which has a recognised brand, a variety of promotions and new products, and to have the ability to access range reviews.

“Importantly, co-investment is an attractive proposition in the current economic environment where funding can be difficult, and Appleby Westward was able to offer us this facility in the redevelopment of our store.”

The redevelopment saw new lighting and fixtures installed in the 1,800 sq.ft. store, where the emphasis has moved to more chilled products, a wide range of beers, wines and spirits, food-to-go and coffee, and a full complement of convenience goods. The store also offers National Lottery, PayPoint, phone top-up, news and an ATM machine. “Customers are delighted with the result and we’re seeing a better basket spend already,” said Laurence.

He expects the store to really take off once the next stage of the redevelopment, the refurbishment of the forecourt and the rebranding to Murco, is completed in the next few weeks offering competitive pricing on both fuel and shop goods.

“Once we have a more inviting forecourt, we fully expect the two to be complementary, with the shop helping the forecourt and the forecourt helping the shop,” he said.

“I’m confident that within three months, we could see shop turnover up by as much as 50%.”

Laurence is now spreading his wings further with Appleby Westward and has recently secured the purchase of another garage and SPAR forecourt store on the main A36 road south of Bath at Monkton Combe.

The featured article above was from Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer.

Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer: A New Lease of Life for Dartmoor Store


A convenience store in a small Devon town on the edge of Dartmoor, which had fallen into disrepair, has been given a complete makeover and re-opened as a modern SPAR store serving the local community.

The former Solo Stores in Fore Street, Chudleigh has been acquired by SPAR store operator Gillett’s (Callington) Limited and been the subject of a major refurbishment for several weeks.

“We bought the store from a receiver,” said Managing Director Mark Gillett. “It was formerly a Wilkies store but the premises had fallen into a state of disrepair over a number of years and we have totally refurbished it, starting with the very basics through to a comprehensive refit.”

The store was refurbished in a joint investment scheme with Appleby Westward, creating a new shop front, increasing the off licence range by 200%, introducing food-to-go and increasing the area for chilled products threefold.

The chilled section is distinguished by all cabinets having retro fit energy-saving doors installed, creating a distinctive eye-catching effect along one whole aisle. “The store was fully merchandised, using the plans available from Appleby Westward,” said Mark. “As we were starting with a complete new range, it did make life a lot easier and helped ensure we had the correct range for the shelving configurations within each section.

“We are very positive about the store, and it has been exceedingly well received by the locals,” he added.

Gillett’s purchased its first store in 1984 and has steadily grown with regular strategic acquisitions of businesses in rural locations. The company now operates 61 SPAR stores throughout the south west.

Gillett’s recently signed a new five year exclusivity contract with Appleby Westward, which Mark Gillett described as “a reflection of the confidence we have in the relationship and opportunities with Appleby Westward and SPAR.”

The featured article above was from Appleby Westward Group Limited Paris Retailer.

Appleby Westward Group Limited: “We Are Delighted We Moved To SPAR”


Brothers Tony, Adrian and Nigel Parker have brought their three convenience stores under the SPAR umbrella – and are delighted to join the country’s biggest symbol group.

“Everyone at SPAR has been so friendly from the very moment they first walked through the door,” said Tony. “And since we’ve converted our stores, the feedback from our customers has been out of this world.”

Tony, Nigel and Adrian run three stores in Weston-super-Mare which were trading under the Premier banner before they decided to switch to SPAR. Since moving, the stores – in Ebdon Road, Kelston Road and Milton Road – have all been refurbished and are enjoying a significant uplift in sales.

“The Appleby Westward team have done a brilliant job for us,” said Tony, whose late father John originally worked in the Ebdon Road store. “Our shops were beginning to look a bit tired and needed a level of investment that we simply could not afford at the time. The investment that has been put in has been second to none, and the redevelopment of the three stores has been fantastic and has completely transformed the business.”

In only the first few weeks of trading under the SPAR fascia, sales were up 20% at Ebdon Road and the other two shops were experiencing a similar boost in sales as well.

Appleby Westward doubled the amount of refrigeration in all three stores to enhance the chilled offer, and provided a complete refit throughout including new ceilings, floors and lighting. All three stores – which employ 50 full and part time staff in total – provide a full convenience fresh food and general grocery offer to their local neighbourhoods.

“We are delighted we moved to SPAR and people have been coming up to me in the streets saying how great the shops are,” said Tony. “It was all a bit flat before, but now we are very excited about the year ahead and the future prospects for the business. We couldn’t be happier with the move we’ve made.”

Store Maintain Essential Service To The Village by Appleby Westward Group Limited


The Musbury Garage SPAR forecourt store near Axminster has introduced a Post Office local service, providing a welcome boost for the area.

Post Office local is a new concept that allows retailers to offer Post Office products and services via shop staff through their main sales operations, rather than at a separate counter with dedicated Post Office employees and Julian Rinaldi, owner of Musbury Garage in Marlborough Road, has introduced one in his forecourt convenience store.

The Musbury store does, however, have its own Post Office till point and Julian has taken on two part time members of staff to help run the service.

“We are delighted to be able to offer this important additional service to our local community,” said Julian. “Because we are open from 7.30am until 8pm every day of the week, we can offer longer convenient opening hours and easier service.

“The Post Office approached me to take the service on when the subpostmaster decided to retire and I didn’t hesitate as it will maintain an essential service to the village and the surrounding area.”

Julian converted the small garage shop into a modern 1,000 sq.ft. SPAR convenience store three years ago shortly after taking over the business from his parents Frank and Barbara.

Since then, the convenience store has flourished and become an integral part of the local community, providing an extensive range of convenience essentials and regionally sourced products, as well as fostering an involvement in local fundraising activities.

Post Office spokesperson Judith Aubrey said: “We are delighted to say that Musbury Post Office is one of three Post Offices opening in Devon this month, part of a three-year investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office, that will see around 6000 (about half the Post Office network) converting to new-style branches, that offer longer opening hours for customers.”

Appleby Westward Group Limited: Store Sees Uplift In Fresh Food Sales

Customers have been full of praise for the transformation of a SPAR forecourt store following a £100,000 co-investment development scheme carried out by the owners and Appleby Westward.

The store, in Station Road, Ilminster, is run by John and Linda McKinnon with their son Laurie and his fiancée Leah – and the family are as delighted with the results as their customers.

“Our customers have been full of admiration for what we have done, and we are very pleased with the results too,” said John. “I think it compares more than favourably with anything you would find in a Sainsbury’s Local or Waitrose Local. We have adopted the best principles of SPAR alongside some of the market leaders, and the end result shows.”

The redevelopment scheme has created a new shop front with new imagery and a relocated store entrance enabling customers to gain an instantly favourable impression of the store’s main attractions.

These include a substantial increase in the amount of chilled refrigeration equipment, some of which is fitted with eco-friendly doors, creating one of the largest chilled alcohol displays of any convenience store in the area. The 1,800 sq.ft. store has a strong focus on fresh and chilled produce, frozen foods and an extended bakery range, as well as a Costa coffee offer. The strength of the Costa brand has attracted customers from the nearby housing estates to pop in for a cup of coffee, as well as passing trade.

“Everything a customer could want for tonight’s supper is now available here in this store, and that is the message we are putting out,” said John. “Already we are seeing an uplift in sales for produce, chilled and ready meals.

“Business is always a bit challenging at this time of the year, particularly in the current economic climate, but I believe that from March onwards we will really start to see the benefits of what we have done here coming through in significantly increased sales.”