South-Westen Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward is to invest millions in a growth stategy, parent company BWG’s chief executive Leo Crawford said this week at Appleby Westward’s annual tradeshow.
Speaking to retailers and suppliers at the Westpoint, Exeter event, Crawford (pictured) said the recently announced joint venture between Spar South Africa and BWG Group meant that there would be €110 million to invest in growing the businesses in Ireland and the Appleby Westward territory over the next few years.
“The future strategy is to invest for growth,” he said. “Spar South Africa are big players and understand retailing, Spar, and the partnership model as a whole.
“We shall be investing £2m in capital expenditure in Appleby Westward this year, and the same figure in 2015. We will have opened 18 new Spar stores in the region this year and will be placing a big future focus on store recruitment to show we are a top class partner and better than the competition.”
He told retailers that a £500,000 investment in wholesale pricing had paid dividends, and that Appleby Westward was achieving greater efficiencies out of its ½m sq.ft. of retail space. Chilled and ready meals formed the fastest growing part of the Features > Business, and Spar brand had grown significantly, now forming 30% of overall sales.
Paying tribute to outgoing managing director Mark McCammond and welcoming his replacement Mike Boardman, Crawford added: “I am excited and optimistic about the future of this business.”
Mark McCammond told store owners the most valuable asset they had was their space, and their biggest opportunity was to make better use of it, starting with getting fresh products up front in store.
He also urged retailers to improve their ‘kerb appeal’ by opening up their windows, redecorating, re-setting their space and getting rid of clutter and dust gathering products,
“We have done well to improve sales density by square foot but can do better and my challenge to you is to work together with us to drive sales and profitability. Making the most of what you’ve got and growing sales per square foot will drive your profit,” he said.