Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore has appointed change specialist Jed Carter as its first marketing director. He joined this month from Asda where he was general manager of step change and also worked on the George brand relaunch.

Carter said he wanted to improve the offering in Blakemore’s 215 Tates stores and the 500 independent stores that the company supplied in the Midlands and Wales area. He also planned to review the business and was considering changing the layout of the stores and range of products offered and increasing the number of promotions, he said.

“I have come back to the world of small food retail – it’s a big opportunity and a big challenge,” Carter said. “I hope to be able to improve the customer offer. Finding ways we can sharpen and improve our perception of value is a big challenge.”

AF Blakemore’s strengths included its availability, which he claimed was better than the multiples’, its customer service and its food to go, he said.

Carter started his career at The Co-operative Group, where he spent 20 years “working in every type of retail role” and was in charge of inventing the Welcome c-store format. Following that, he worked at the Sainsbury’s convenience trading division.

AF Blakemore has also recently made two new trading controller appointments. Andrew Dorricote, formerly category buyer for beer and cider at Somer-field, will be in charge of ambient grocery and Alex Payce-Drury, formerly purchasing director at the Italian arm of Compass Group, will be in charge of food-to-go and frozen food.