Spar retailers in the south-west have been promised lower wholesale prices by regional distributor Appleby Westward, saving them an overall outlay of more than £650,000.
The delivered wholesaler’s managing director Mike Boardman, speaking at the company’s annual roadshow in Exeter, said that the cuts would help retailers counter the effects of the Living Wage.
“By reducing costs in our business,” he said, “we can give you rebates on milk and key beer, wines and spirits lines so that you can go toe to toe with all your major competitors.”
Boardman went on to list a number of beer, wines and spirits lines that would be subject to a 20% price reduction. Appleby Westward is also introducing a new pricing structure for milk, which will give retailers “the confidence to sell two-litres on ‘two for £2’ deals”.
The initiatives will enable traders to increase footfall and benefit from greater sales of fresh food. They result from an examination by Appleby Westward of its route to market for frozen food and dairy products and of delivery times for ambient products.
Frozen foods are now being distributed by Hunt’s Frozen Foods, of Sherborne, Dorset, while milk and chilled foods are being delivered on a three drops per week basis.
Boardman said that while the wholesaler would not be imposing lower retail prices, it was in the shopkeepers’ interest to reduce prices in line with the wholesale restructure.
He stressed, too, the importance of supporting the Spar own-label range – a sentiment also expressed by the symbol group’s managing director, Debbie Robinson.
Appleby Westward sales director Nick Kenworthy said the company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BWG Group in Ireland, had “refreshed and refitted” 47% of the 300-plus stores in the past two years and was on course to complete the programme by 2019.
In a separate development, Appleby Westward has reached agreement to acquire Gillett’s (Callington), a family-owned business operating 63 Spar stores in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.
The chain has a staff of 950 and annual turnover of £65 million (excluding VAT and services).
Appleby Westward, which is buying the business for an undisclosed sum, plans to operate all the Gillett’s outlets as company-owned stores – the first SPAR units to be under its own control.
The wholesaler’s managing director Mike Boardman said of Gillett’s: “This is a very robust family business, with an excellent platform of very well-run Spar stores. The acquisition will ensure continuity of supply for Appleby Westward to those stores.”
Gillett’s has worked successfully in partnership with Appleby Westward since the business was founded 32 years ago.
Tel: Appleby Westward (01752) 854000