Located in the village of Tidworth on the Hampshire-Wiltshire border just a few miles from Stonehenge, the Connolly family’s Spar store has benefited from a £1.2m redevelopment, of which a portion was funded by Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward. The site, which expanded from 1,000sq ft to 2,200sq ft, is designed to be a modern convenience store featuring a mission-based layout, top-quality fixtures and fittings, and boasting state-of-the-art technology. Store manager Ellen Rhodes takes C-Store on a tour.
Fresh and Chilled
The store, which has been in the family’s ownership for some 12 years, was completely gutted and rebuilt with a larger sales area and new fixtures and fittings, including a new floor, ceiling and energy-efficient LED lighting. The residential area above the store was developed at the same time.
During the six-month refit, the store moved into the unit next door. Customers were without their local store for only eight hours during the whole transition process.
Fresh food has been given a key focus in the new store, and the locals have responded positively, with total shop sales already up more than 30%, peaking at £32,000 per week.
Less is More
A heavily-reduced ambient grocery section sits between two banks of chillers. This has successfully encouraged mission-based shopping for top-up and meal times.
Despite the range being cut back, grocery sales have actually increased as shoppers can find what they are looking for more easily.
An ‘everyday low price’ strategy is used for beer, with cans of big brands available for £1. As it is the only store in the area which sells single cans, the slight loss of margin has been compensated by strong volumes.
With lots of local families using the store, soft drinks are a key category. Despite the enlargement as part of the redevelopment, there is still not enough space to merchandise all the stock so manufacturers’ display units such as this are a welcome addition.
Slush sales have been strong all summer long, driven by this large self-service unit sited on the counter top.
Hot drinks are also popular, with sales boosted by the switch to the Costa brand. Breakfast and lunchtimes are busy periods in store.
A large food prep and hot food service area was included on the plan to future-proof the store, with the customer proposition in the process of development.
Electronic shelf-edge labelling highlights the prices.
The large up-front investment in the system is expected to pay back within three years in saved labour.Ellen says: “It used to take a couple of hours to change all the promotions, but now I can do it by pressing a button.”
Tobacco is dispensed from an automated gantry activated via the touch-screen till. The unit also houses a media screen.
But the most profitable investment? Kid-sized shopping trolleys costing £10 each. Local children have been enthusiastically pushing them around the store with their parents in tow, boosting basket spend.