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What is SPAR and what services does it provide?
SPAR describes itself as the world’s largest food retail chain. The first SPAR store was opened in the Dutch town of Zegwaart in 1932 by Adriaan van Well and today each outlet prides itself on being an integral part of the community it serves.
Currently, it has around 13,000 stores in 48 countries. In the UK, where it opened for business in 1957, it has 2,400 stores and employs in the region of 50,000 staff. As well as being located in city centres and local neighbourhoods, SPAR stores can be found on forecourts and in airports and train stations.
In 2019 the business grew by 4.35 per cent globally and had retail sales of €37.1 billion.
SPAR stores provide customers with all their essentials - from fresh groceries, frozen food and meat and fish to bakery and dairy products and a range of non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks. Outlets also stock health and beauty, baby, pet and household products, with some featuring post office facilities, bakeries, postal collection services, barista bars and deli counters.
SPAR customers are able to purchase food and drink from many of the major brands and can also choose to buy products in SPAR’s own brand range, which offers good quality at highly competitive prices.
The company supports local food suppliers and farmers via its Enjoy Local line and has been a major supporter of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and Childline for a number of years, raising around £4.5 million for the NSPCC Schools Service.
The brand has been the principal sponsor of the European Athletics Association since 1996.
How does the SPAR franchise model work?
In order to expand the brand around the world, SPAR has developed a successful partnership programme that allows employees of the business as well as investors not previously associated with the company to own their own stores.
It provides its franchise partners with a complete turnkey package that helps them establish and grow a successful convenience store business. They benefit from the SPAR brand name, tried and tested systems of operation, buying power, marketing expertise, established supply chain and national infrastructure.
Everything is geared towards satisfying its thousands of customers by using slick operating systems and maximising store income.
How much does it cost to become a SPAR franchisee?
This depends on the size, type and location of your store. Investment levels are discussed with potential partners during the recruitment process and after a confidentiality agreement is signed.
What training and support do SPAR franchisees receive?
Some SPAR franchisees already have retail management experience, others don’t, so the franchisor tailors its initial training to your needs. Needless to say, the training programme is comprehensive.
Franchisees are also given access to the online SPAR Guild Training Academy, which contains regularly updated information about relevant legislation, operations and retail management.
Once a franchisee’s initial training is complete, they are allocated their own business development adviser, who is well versed in all aspects of the business and can assist partners to expand their franchise in line with predetermined financial targets.
The business development adviser visits the franchisee on a regular basis to discuss and arrange growth opportunities, staff training, etc.
Marketing support comprises the production of branded promotional leaflets and point of sale material, local radio and national TV advertising, national PR, social media activity and a customer magazine.
Does SPAR assist franchisees with the design and fit out of their stores?
It does. The company also helps franchisees find the best location for their outlets.
SPAR utilises a number of different store formats across its estate and employs a space planning model to maximise the profitability of each of its outlets.
Can you tell me about the electronic point of sale (EPOS) system used by SPAR across its UK network?
This uses cutting edge technology to give franchisees the critical data they need to optimise sales.
The system provides digital delivery notes for goods receipts and stock updates, as well as price updates and details about new ranges and deals.
It also allows franchisees to place orders, check invoices and keep up to date with the latest products and promotions. Product promotions take place throughout the year and are timed with the changing of the seasons. They tend to feature around 150 national promotions, which are complemented by weekly and local activity.
How does SPAR ensure products are distributed to all its UK stores in a timely manner?
The company says its warehousing and distribution set up in this country is ‘world class’. According to SPAR, delivered service levels are regularly at 98 per cent, so franchisees don’t need to worry about not having the right products in stock at the right time.
What measures has SPAR taken to ensure its business is as environmentally friendly as possible?
The company says it is a responsible retailer. Many of its UK stores use the latest technology in terms of energy efficient equipment like LED lighting and energy saving refrigeration.
Some SPAR stores provide several refill options, including water, milk, dried goods and household products, while several outlets are signed up as refill stations on the Water Refill app, which enables users to find drinking water while on the go.
In June 2020 SPAR UK announced that it had removed almost 300 tons of virgin plastic from 53 of its own brand products in one year.
As part of a packaging revamp, it has also prevented over 100 tons of black plastic going to landfill and added recycling information on over 700 SPAR own brand products. In addition, its own brand ready meal trays now include 80 per cent recycled material and are fully recyclable.
Cath McIlwham, head of corporate social responsibility at SPAR UK, says: “A year ago we made a huge commitment to eliminate black plastic from our SPAR own label packaging range by the end of 2020 and we’re delighted to be working well ahead of our target.
“We know protecting the planet for the future is important to our customers and retailers and we have shown how committed we are to reducing the amount of plastic we use and ensuring packaging is recyclable where possible.”
By 2025, SPAR UK is aiming to eliminate single use plastic from its own brand range, have an average of 30 per cent recycled content in plastic packaging and ensure 100 per cent of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Where in the UK is the SPAR franchise based?
How can I get started on setting up my own SPAR business?
Complete the enquiry form on this page and one of SPAR’s business development managers will be in touch. They will be able to tell you more about the franchise, what you need to succeed as a franchisee and the level of investment required to join the network.
Opportunities are available to open a SPAR franchise store throughout the UK.
Request Free Information
Send a free enquiry to SPAR for further information!