Appleby Westward’s parent company BWG is set to invest £4m in the South West Spar distributor over the next two years as part of a major strategy for growth.

Speaking at Appleby Westward’s annual tradeshow, BWG chief executive Leo Crawford said the recently-announced joint venture between Spar South Africa and BWG Group meant there would be €110m to invest in growing its businesses in Ireland and the Appleby Westward territory over the next few years.

He added that Appleby would focus its attention on store recruitment in the future.

“The future strategy is to invest for growth,” he said. “Spar South Africa are big players and understand retailing, Spar, and the partnership model as a whole.”

“We shall be investing £2m in capital expenditure in Appleby Westward this year, and the same figure in 2015. We will have opened 18 new Spar stores in the region this year and will be placing a big future focus on store recruitment to show we are a top class partner and better than the competition.”

He told retailers that chilled and ready meals were the fastest growing part of the business, while Spar brand had grown significantly, now representing 30% of overall sales.

Outgoing managing director Mark McCammond urged retailers to make better use of their space, which was their most valuable asset.

“We have done well to improve sales density by square foot but can do better and my challenge to you is to work together with us to drive sales and profitability. Making the most of what you’ve got and growing sales per square foot will drive your profit,” he said.

McCammond will be replaced as managing director by Mike Boardman, AF Blakemore trading director, in November.