AF Blakemore continues to invest to help SPAR retailers thrive

Continuous investment and support from AF Blakemore is helping its SPAR retailers to thrive and make the most of new opportunities in the convenience market.

That was the key message at this year’s SPAR Retail Show, themed New Opportunities, which attracted 1,000 guests, including suppliers, employees and retailers from across SPAR UK’s Meridian & Welsh Guild.

Jerry Marwood: ‘Blakemore’s invests over 95% of its profits every year back into the organisation; it’s what makes us different, it makes us stronger.’

AF Blakemore’s managing director Jerry Marwood explained that the company’s investment statement is unique in the industry. “Blakemore’s invests over 95% of its profits every year back into the organisation; it’s what makes us different, it makes us stronger.”

He added: “Next year is going to be as competitive as ever. Customers will want better value, better choice and better quality. They’ll want it delivered in a way that corporate businesses just can’t replicate, and that is our opportunity.”

In the first quarter of 2021, Blakemore will open its new distribution centre in Bedford. Marwood told the retailers in the audience: “It will be a great facility. It will allow us to pass on savings to you, give you a better service. It is a massive statement of intent from our business and [demonstrates our] confidence in your future.”

Other speakers at the event included Blakemore Trade Partners’ sales director Louis Drake, who said that over 200 retailers have so far signed up to the new terms package launched at last year’s SPAR Retail Show. This provides significantly higher overrider payments that the retailers can take in advance to develop their stores or use in combination with other financing from the business. In the first six months of this year, over £1 million has been paid out in overriders to the retailers involved in the scheme, he revealed.

The KVI (known value item) initiative, launched by Blakemore across its SPAR store estate during the initial Coronavirus lockdown, was discussed by SPAR retailer Tom Dant, who runs six SPAR sites in the East Lincs area. “The KVI programme allows us to demonstrate to our customers in challenging areas that we can present a value-for-money offer. This is key to attract and maintain customers in areas where price is critical. It has enabled me to offer lower prices on over 100 products and be able to market them internally and externally with a strong value message supported by outstanding point-of-sale.

“The margin effect has been around 0.3% – a small price to pay to create a long-term price perception – to shake off the expensive stigma,” he added. “Undoubtedly, the KVI initiative is not for every store – I have put it in three of our six stores where I felt it was needed.”

In another key presentation at the SPAR Retail Show, SPAR UK managing director Louise Hoste reported that UK wholesale distributor sales grew by 3.39% to 30 April 2020.

Tel: AF Blakemore (01902) 366066

Published Date: November 3, 2020
Category: Wholesale Industry News