Spar has opened the UK's first combined main post office and convenience store in London this week. Rather than sectioning off the post office behind glass windows, the open plan design at Westminster Bridge Road enables customers to pay for groceries, apply for a passport, collect benefit and buy travellers' cheques at the same till. A number of combi' units have been trialled before, but this is the first main post office offering a full range of Post Office services. The 1,700 sq ft store also has an on demand Bureau de Change, hot food to go, a licensed section and a strong grocery offer. The store will also serve as a collection point for goods ordered by phone, internet or catalogues as Consignia rolls out an e-fulfilment scheme across its network this week. Spar retail director Steve Blackmore said the group was aggressively targeting Consignia franchisees to branch out into convenience as part of a recruitment drive focusing on high transit sites with a special emphasis on London. Store owner Bhupendra Patel has several other "combi stores" in the pipeline and a series of presentations to Consignia area managers in recent weeks have attracted several other interested franchisees, said Blackmore. "Consignia is saying the combi store is the way forward, and is reviewing all sites. This store will be used as a flagship for the concept." A Consignia spokeswoman said the group was actively developing new products and services to drive footfall at post offices and encourage retailers to take them on, from the Universal Bank to the new collect service. - Spar wholesaler Capper & Co is pressing ahead with plans to combine c-stores and ticket offices at railway stations in the south east. {{NEWS }}

Topics