Spar chain AF Blakemore is ready to start converting village pubs into Spar centres in a rural regeneration drive. Retail director Elwyn Davies said: "We have taken the challenge from Prince Charles to try and integrate pubs and shops to make the pub the hub' of village life." AF Blakemore has put advertisements in newspapers in the east of England for suitable premises, and is already conducting inspections. Special signage will be designed when sites are found with the Spar logo incorporated in the pub hoarding. The proposed Spar concessions will be in an annexe of the pub and offer post office facilities, off licence, banking, lottery and fresh foods. Sales targets and store standards will be the same as for a regular Spar. Davies said: "We will not be selling a few bits and pieces from a trestle table." But AF Blakemore is not looking to cash in by supplying the host pub with liquors and beers as that would encroach on brewery territory. Blakemore is also considering applications from post offices and petrol filling stations for the new conversion scheme. {{NEWS }}

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