Spar UK's most powerful member is planning to build its biggest ever store. Tates, the company owned stores division of Spar UK's biggest wholesaler AF Blakemore, is awaiting planing permission for a store in mid Wales of about 6,000 sq ft, and another is the pipeline. Recently appointed Tates md Geoff Hallam said the plans had not been influenced by calls for larger stores by the International Spar md Gordon Campbell. Last year Campbell called on the six Spar UK wholesalers to develop stores under the EuroSpar fascia, a format averaging 10 to 25,000 sq ft. But Hallam said the store would not be large enough for a Eurospar and would have a conventional Spar fascia. He explained: "In some larger villages and small towns we have identified an opportunity for larger stores. "Sometimes you have to compromise to fit everything in, even with 3,000 sq ft. We are placing an emphasis on fresh food and dairy. A store this size will allow us to do everything well." Tates currently operates 185 stores. Hallam said he planned to open another 12 stores before the end of the year, adding: "A year from now we will definitely have 200." In July, Tates announced it had an £18m acquisition fund, and Hallam said it would be looking to buy another company or group in addition to the 15 stores a year it planned to open. {{NEWS }}

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