Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company/wholesaler for Spar stores in the South West, announced this week that it is committing “significant investment to pricing support and store investment”.
Addressing an audience of retailers and suppliers at its annual tradeshow, Appleby Westward MD Mike Boardman told the Westpoint, Exeter audience that the company was investing £275,000 into better pricing across a wide range of categories this year. Categories include soft drinks, beer, household, health and beauty, grocery and produce.
The company has also set aside a £2m capital sum for co-investment in store development along with its retailers this year, and is targeting to recruit more than 20 new stores under the Spar fascia before the end of the year.
Boardman reported that Appleby Westward was also investing in a new training resource for retailers called The Academy, and £500,000 had been spent on a progressive new EPOS system for retailers called PROSPER which is currently being rolled out in stores across the region.
“This is a company on the move,” he said. “We offer our retailers a complete package and partnership approach, and the local expertise of our retailers is what makes us that bit more special.”
Chairman Leo Crawford, the chief executive of BWG Group, Appleby Westward’s parent company, said the joint venture announced with Spar South Africa last year meant the company now had a very strong balance sheet, enabling it to invest much better in the marketplace.
“Appleby Westward and Spar UK are in a very strong position and it is important that everyone maintains higher standards for the long term,” he said. “We have established a momentum, and that gives you all a great advantage.”
Spar UK Managing Director Debbie Robinson spoke of “the uniqueness of the award-winning Spar brand and the positive outlook for convenience over the next five years”, while Appleby Westward sales director Nick Kenworthy outlined the development work underway on store formats, stating that the company was looking to refresh and refit at least 20% of the stores in the South West each year.