Covid-19 has brought significant disruption for SPAR Scotland.
But it hasn’t changed the chain’s ambitions for growth.
Chief executive Colin McLean said the convenience store business had seen three years of year-on-year growth.
But the pandemic brought significant changes to shopper behaviour.
Over the past year, SPAR Scotland stores have seen footfall drop of 16% but basket spend increased by over 35%.
Long term profitable growth
Mr McLean said he expects this pattern to continue until Covid passes and normal trading resumes.
He said: “Our priority (throughout Covid-19) has been on staff and customer health and safety, product availability and service.
“But our long term ambition for the business remains unchanged. Our strategy is committed to long term profitable growth.
“Growing sales and our retailer network and attracting more customers continues to play a key role as we operate at the heart of communities.”
Future plans for SPAR Scotland
SPAR has engaged its suppliers as it looks to continue to grow revenue. Mr McLean and the executive team recently hosted a video call with 250 suppliers.
He described the SPAR Scotland future programme which will look to achieve better engagement with existing and new customers and improve brand awareness.
Other plans include launching new model stores and investing in store formats and range development.
SPAR Scotland also wants to further develop its home delivery service with Dundee-based platform Snappy Shopper.
Mr McLean said: “We are seeing positive confirmation that we have the right offer from both our shoppers and our independent retailers as we continue to attract new business.
“We are looking to work with the support of suppliers to maximise our ambition.
“The SPAR Scotland business is celebrating three years of consecutive like for like growth but we are not complacent.
“We are building the business and continue to work on our back to basics programme towards 2025 and beyond.”
Electronic labels for shop shelves
Future initiatives include a new website to support recruitment, television advert campaign and investment in IT to better understand category sales performance.
Electronic labels on shelves will also be trialled in selected stores.
“Like many businesses, we are dealing with the here and now, but we have the confidence and the courage to face forward and make changes,” Mr McLean added.
“Our business is unpredictable and always changing but we are very much focused on what we can control.”
Meanwhile SPAR wholesaler CJ Lang and Son Limited has won an environmental best practice award in the Green Apple Awards.
Dundee-based CJ Lang established a Green Team in 2019. A partnership with Gatechurch and Community Fridge, has saved almost 67 tonnes of food from going to waste.
They have helped more than 2,600 families and individuals with the equivalent of 37,000 meals.
CJ Lang has been invited to have their winning paper published in a leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so others can follow its example.