Tates makes record Spar sales

Tates, the Spar chain owned by AF Blakemore, has disclosed record annual sales, following an aggressive promotional campaign.

The 187-strong chain made sales of£213.9 million last year, beating its forecasts by£4 million. Tates made a net profit of£5 million - more than double that made in 2001.

Tates managing director Geoff Hallam said that an aggressive stance on promotions through Spar's Real Deals campaign had helped.

The retailer spent£6.2 million refurbishing 23 stores last year and plans to keep the upgrade programme rolling.

Hallam said: 'The average cost of a refit is now£350,000. This is because of the increased refrigeration going into stores, especially in beers and wines. However, this is providing a great return on investment, with refurbished stores showing substantial sales increases in these departments.'

The convenience store business has also introduced a sales incentive scheme for store managers, which it claims could make them some of the best paid in the sector.

The scheme is backdated to June 1, and gives managers an additional bonus of£1 per week for every£1,000 of sales.

Hallam believes the scheme will 'reward managers for growing sales and demonstrating a real talent for doing so'.

The convenience store sector has consolidated recently, with Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury's and Musgrave all making acquisitions.