Full integration of the AF Blakemore and Capper & Co Spar retail businesses following the acquisition of Capper last year will enable the combined group to be the best c-store operator in the country, Blakemore managing director Peter Blakemore told delegates at the group’s annual conference last week.

Admin and financial systems will be fully integrated by the end of September, with unified product files and depot operating systems in place by the end of October. Retail operating systems including SparPOS will be integrated by the end of the year, he confirmed.

“We have worked very hard to integrate two different companies against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate,” he said. “We are looking to combine the best with the best, and aim to be the very best c-store operation in the UK.”

Spar UK managing director Debbie Robinson explained how the chiefs of all UK Spar wholesalers were driving a 10-point plan to increase the group’s market share from 8.3% to 9.3% within five years. The strategy includes plans to recruit more stores, reduce the cost of goods, increase basket size and rebalance shopper spending.