Wholesaler Palmer & Harvey (P&H) plans to elevate its Mace fascia group to the convenience sector Premier League by recruiting more stores in the 2,000-2,500sq ft bracket.

Since upgrading its store formats a year ago, Mace has added almost one new store a week to a total fast approaching 800, with the average size of stores increasing. 

Marketing director Richard Hayhoe said: “We’re seeing stores move up to the whole offer, taking alcohol, chilled and frozen and food to go as well as grocery in one delivery with our temperature-controlled fleet. They are realising that to be credible in convenience you need to have at least six metres of fresh & chilled, and we can provide them with that.”

Hayhoe said P&H customers who followed the wholesaler’s Partnership Plus scheme were also adopting the fascia, and that forecourt groups were increasingly looking at non-fuel sites as a route to growth. 

Visitors to this week’s Pro Retail show, organised by P&H, were introduced to the largest-ever Mace store layout, and invited to share their sales figures in a Retail Fitness zone to find out where they could show improvement in partnership with Mace. “In this way, we could give retailers a visual of how their store could look and, more importantly, how much more it could make,” Hayhoe added.

“Taking on our fascia doesn’t cost as much as some retailers think and we’ll put a lot into the relationship ourselves,” he said. “But we won’t put our name above a rubbish store – we want to see planograms in action, logical merchandising and in-store disciplines. We’re keen to talk to retailers about working together and we’re confident that with our support they will win through.”