Spar strikes out at rivals with 500 store openings

Symbol group Spar aims to extend its presence in the UK by adding 500 new stores to the 2,500-strong network over the next year.

The retailer, one of the leading convenience store players, is to up the ante in the wake of sector consolidation. Within the past six months, Tesco has acquired T&S Stores and the Co-op snapped up Alldays.

Spar will now aggressively market itself to independent retailers in an attempt to get more of them to join the group.

Marketing Director Susan Darbyshire said: 'We will continue to promote Spar as a brand, add value for our retailers, drive their profitability and support them in the face of ever increasing competition.'

Spar is also changing its promotional strategy and is to test a variety of approaches. The retailer's 'Real Deals' campaign will continue, but Spar will also test initiatives such as a big 'buy one - give one free' promotion at the end of the year.

The retailer will continue with national TV advertising, but will bring humour to its campaign and plans to vary ads more frequently. There will be seasonal advertising, as well as others linked to high-profile sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup.

Separately, Spar is continuing with new product development and will launch 55 products, including additions to its fresh range, healthy eating foods and desserts.

Spar generated sales in the UK of£2.3 billion last year.

The symbol group continues to roll out its 'Millennium' store package, which is said to have improved performance in converted stores.