SPAR South Africa presented their new strategy to retailers and the industry, designed to continue to deliver growth in a challenging market, focusing on independent retailers who drive the brand and on ever-changing shopper needs.
Having had a solid financial year ending September 2018, the Group saw a need to focus on driving the retail and wholesale aspects of the business in South Africa – involving retailers in the strategy development process, which was underpinned by extensive background research to help identify key trends and opportunities.
The key retail trends identified include: convenience-integrated digital technologies, health & wellness, plastic-alternative packaging solutions, food waste reduction and local product sourcing. The strategy process was further guided by the Sustainable Development Goals, which assisted in defining primary themes for SPAR around equality, poverty reduction, human settlement, food & nutrition, sustainable growth and quality education.
“Our priority for the next year will be to drive the implementation of our new strategy in South Africa. We believe this can make a fundamental difference to our business through the commitment to put consumers first,” said Graham O’Connor, CEO of SPAR South Africa.
The independent SPAR retailers who bring the brand to life and to shoppers throughout the country remain well positioned to continue to grow, supported by an extensive distribution network and market-leading brands. During the course of the 2018 financial year, 170 SPAR stores were refurbished to provide retail offerings that exceed consumer demand. An additional 34 stores were opened, bringing total SPAR store numbers in the country to 937 by the end of September 2018.
Demand for SPAR Own Brand products was stronger at 5.8% for the financial year, with sales reaching ZAR8.5 billion. The products continue to offer real consumer value and quality, and remain a shopping differentiator for SPAR retailers.
All of the South African Distribution Centres (DCs) showed positive volume growth with double digit increases reported by the North Rand and Eastern Cape DCs. Plans are in place to centralise about 5,500 slow-moving SKUs into one warehouse that will serve the South Rand, North Rand and Lowveld DCs. This will free up space in the three DCs to introduce new lines and reduce stock levels.
In addition to operating in South Africa, the SPAR Group Limited supports independent retailers in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Ireland, Switzerland and the south west of England. The shared learnings across national borders, tapping into the unique SPAR voluntary retailing model, is evident with world-class stores being developed which take on best practice retailing adapted to suit specific market conditions.