John Irish CBE, who was managing director of SPAR UK from 1981 to 1994, has died at the age of 84, after being diagnosed with cancer in the autumn last year.
Martin Agnew, chairman of the symbol group, commented: “John was a hugely influential force within SPAR and the whole of the UK retail sector, as the architect of ‘8 till late’ and longer opening hours.
“A clear and strong-minded leader, and always intensely loyal, he was responsible for huge growth which led over 2,000 SPAR retailers to see a revolution in their trading and prosperity.”
Irish joined Marks & Spencer in 1954 and moved to SPAR UK in 1971 as retail director. He later became marketing director and then managing director.
He headed the symbol chain when it operated at its Harrow site in conjunction with Landmark, before the C&C group went its separate way, setting up in Milton Keynes.
Tel: SPAR UK 020-8426 3700