BWG Group, which operates the Mace and Spar franchises in the Irish Republic, is pressing ahead with the radical redevelopment of its Spar format, despite having put itself up for sale.

As part of its 'new convenience' strategy it has launched four pilot stores featuring juice and smoothies bars, coffee concessions and takeaway deli counters. It has also overhauled its product range, re-categorising it into five mission categories: 'enjoy now', 'take home', 'let's celebrate', 'stock up', and 'your usual'.

By the end of 2007 it plans to have opened 70 new stores.