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SPAR Bala Goes from Strength to Strength Following Relaunch

August 05, 2021


Blakemore Retail’s Bala store in Gwynedd, Wales, has been going from strength to strength following its relaunch under the SPAR Market fascia on 18th June.

The SPAR Market format is designed especially for larger convenience stores, with a focus on fresh foods catering for customers on ‘making a meal’ or ‘grab and eat’ missions.

In the third week of July, Bala’s store sales were up by 80% on their pre-refit average.

Thanks to the introduction of A.F. Blakemore’s County Bridge fresh meat range, sales of fresh meat were up circa 500% on pre-refit, while sales of fruit and vegetables increased by circa 160%.

The brand-new Daily Deli counter, offering delicious ready-to-eat food from breakfast time through to the evening, has also risen to be one of Blakemore Retail’s top five for sales. Many older customers have been appreciating cooked meals served over the counter, while morning commuters have been enjoying the improved breakfast offer.

During the third week in July, footfall was also up by an impressive 70% on the store’s pre-Covid average.

Blakemore Retail Operations Director Chris Bacon commented: “When you look at our Market store in Bala, it’s easy to see on the surface why it’s been so successful.

“What was a store in need of investment is now the showpiece you’ve all seen in the pictures, focused on fresh food and our latest technology.

“However, even with all this investment, if I had to pick the biggest reason for the success of the store, it would be our team at Bala. They have risen above and beyond every challenge offered.

“Led by Store Manager Emma and Support Manager Adam, our management team of Michelle and Jacob and supervisors Lewis, Terry and Wayne – along with Alex, John, Kian, Gary, Ben, Rhian, Xenia, Shannon, Elliot, Jane, Tanya on Snappy and new Fresh Food Kickstart Champion Steven – have ensured great availability and standards across the store at all times, delighting our customers old and new.

“The new Daily Deli counter has risen to be in our top five for sales thanks to our amazing food service team. Food Service Manager Lesley, along with supervisors Tomos and Lydia and counter team members Kathleen, Emma, Lesley, Jannet, Meleri, Nerys, Annabelle and Valerie have been offering irresistible food freshly cooked and prepared that our customers in Bala just cannot resist.

“This is a mixed team of old and new colleagues, many learning new skills, who are all dedicated to our store and its success.”

Customer feedback on the Bala store has been overwhelmingly positive, with a Facebook post advertising its relaunch receiving a record 444 likes and 191 comments.

Shoppers have been praising everything from the store’s look to the new fresh meat and produce, local products and frozen slush, milkshake and fresh juice machines. The Snappy Shopper home delivery service has also been complimented for helping to serve vulnerable customers who cannot get out.

Meanwhile, colleague feedback has highlighted how operational improvements have really made a difference. ‘Warehouse on wheels’ mobile racking has made merchandising quicker, while having the store’s food service offering all together in one department has made things easier to manage.

Another success has been the introduction of self-checkouts, with more than 30% of transactions now being processed via them.

For the next two weeks, SPAR Bala will be joining other SPAR stores across Wales to celebrate Welsh Food Fortnight. The shop features an extensive range of fresh produce and food from local suppliers, including Ellis Eggs, Edwards of Conwy, Blas y Fwyd, Village Bakery and Henllan Bakery.






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