top of page

How bricks-and-mortar transformations continue to boost convenience store loyalty

With a number of its retailers moving across to the definitive Spar Market format, the result is a compelling offer that has its roots in local understanding, says UK retail director Ian Taylor.

2023 will see the continued development of bricks-and-mortar convenience stores, says leading symbol group Spar UK as independent and forecourt retailers fight for their share of shoppers’ wallets by investing on getting the right proposition for their customer base in their stores.

As competition for footfall, basket spend and profit heighten against the backdrop of industry challenges, 2023 could turn out to be another tough year if retailers do not engage with their shoppers and meet their expectations.

Ian Taylor, Spar UK retail director, says: “Convenience stores must adapt to their local customer base and engage with them if they want to remain competitive. And one way of doing that is by understanding who their customers are in investing in their stores to stay ahead. That is why we have developed a portfolio of mission-based store formats and flagship stores and created a customer-centric range for stores that is defined by format and by category.

“Every Spar store around the UK has been modelled by location, customer type, competition and sales by mission, and planograms are matched to the format with local influence. Offering our customers something entirely unique to them is a great way to differentiate.”

A market-leading proposition

Spar’s brand positioning is called ‘the Joy of Living Locally’, and a programme of store format developments has included the integration of that proposition into all store designs over the past 12 months.

In addition, Spar has been rolling out its Spar Market model in England, Scotland and Wales, which is a development of the Fresh or For Now For Later format, with certain elements of the design dialled up to bring out the uniqueness of the independent retailer or company-owned store within a specific area.

“Spar Market is designed to be a fascia for larger stores and to attract independent retailers who may not have considered Spar in the past,” says Taylor. “We have set criteria that a store must meet if they are opting for the Spar Market fascia, along with fascia and interior guidelines.”

Since the introduction of Spar Market, there are now 25 stores, all exceeding delivery expectations, he reveals. Independent retailers looking to open or convert to a Spar Market must have a shop floor space of more than 1,500sqft, an increased fresh offering, increase chilled capacity, work closer with local suppliers, offer more diverse ranges and increase the food-to-go and bakery sections.

Spar Market stores offer more fresh foods, a greater range of products including premium BWS and frozen ranges and can also offer cafés, butchers, and delicatessens.

“Those independent retailers who have opened or converted to Spar Market are seeing increased sales, basket spend and footfall and, more importantly, an increase in margin, which is a focus for us in 2023. Margin protection and how to drive increased revenues from your local footprint is at the top of our list,” adds Taylor.


bottom of page