SPAR Retail Show 2017: The Customer at Heart


Thinking customer first is the key to maximising SPAR retailers’ sales.

That was the key message from this year’s Blakemore Trade Partners SPAR Retail Show, which was attended by more than 1,100 guests, including 460 retailers from across SPAR UK’s Meridian & Welsh Guild.


The sold-out event, themed ‘The Customer at Heart’, took place at the Telford International Centre on September 7th and encompassed a conference, trade show and Guild dinner.

The event focused on how Blakemore Trade Partners and its retailers can best prioritise the needs of the shopper.

Blakemore Trade Partners Sales Director Neil Mercer explained: “Blakemore Trade Partners has always focused on a customer-first strategy, whether through store format development, category management or marketing activity.

“In an increasingly competitive environment, having the customer at the heart of our strategy will continue to deliver a unique and flexible store proposition as well as cementing our role in the communities within which SPAR operates.”

At the conference, representatives from Blakemore Trade Partners and SPAR retailers spoke about the importance of developing store formats to meet the needs of local audiences, product development in the award-winning SPAR Brand range and how the Blakemore Foundation can help retailers engage with their local communities.

Neil Mercer announced that the business has set aside £2 million for a new programme that will match-fund pound for pound retailers’ investment in store development.

Also announced at the show was the move to more hyperlocal marketing, with SPAR retailers now able to personalise promotions leaflets and point-of-sale materials, and also send SMS messages to customers within the vicinity of their stores.

The 2017 trade show saw more than 170 suppliers in attendance. An online ordering app provided retailers with instant access to more than 200 special offers.


A gala dinner closed the event in style with a celebration of SPAR retailers’ achievements and A.F. Blakemore & Son’s centenary.


A.F. Blakemore & Son has been celebrating 100 years as a successful family business throughout 2017. The company held a company-wide Charity Birthday Party to raise money for good causes on September 1st and has planned a series of responsible business focus weeks throughout the year to emphasise the important of growing a sustainable business for the next 100 years.

Author: kimbarnard

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