Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore & Son has promoted Mike Fitton to head-up store development as part of Spar UK's Stores of the Future programme.

In his new position as Eurospar development director, Fitton's first task will be to identify which stores fit with which of Spar's seven new formats.

These include Neighbourhood Value, In Transit and Urban Lifestyle. He will als0 work with Blakemore's buying department and its independent retailers to improve ranges, layouts and service.

As the job title suggests, Fitton's role will have a strong emphasis on the Eurospar format. Blakemore is planning to open the first of these stores in the next few months. This will be the first time the supermarket-style format will have been introduced to mainland UK.

It has been a key part of Spar Northern Ireland wholesaler Henderson Group's offer for a long time and Fitton will be working closely with Henderson to develop the format for Blakemore.

Fitton will also be responsible for new store recruitment and will lead a recently assembled team of three recruitment managers to attract new retailers to the group.

Blakemore supplies a full range of grocery products to more than 700 stores across England and Wales as well as Tates, its own 200-strong own store division.

Fitton joined Blakemore in September 2006 as retail sales director for Spar distribution. He was previously at Musgrave Budgens Londis, where he worked for 11 years. He held a number of roles at MBL, including head of retailer support with Budgens.