Spar is to roll out non-food products across some 1,600 stores this summer in its first national push behind the higher-margin category.
Advertising and promotions manager Simon Fisher said that the symbol group would initially look to stock everyday products priced under £10, such as toasters, kettles and garden furniture. However, he said there was scope to expand the category to include higher-ticket items, such as televisions, and hoped trialling would begin in certain stores within 12 months.
“The multiples have successfully moved into non-food, so there’s no reason why we can’t,” said Fisher.
“With items such as televisions, we could either sell them in-store or use shops as an order point for delivery direct to the consumer. Once we’ve got
our infrastructure right with this summer’s trials, then higher-ticket items will be next.”
In addition, a children’s books offer would fit with Spar’s core target market of females, aged 35-plus. “Our customers have generally got kids, so anything we can do to help them, helps us,” said Fisher.
Spar will also look at sourcing products that are seasonally relevant, such as barbecue appliances, garden lights and DIY equipment during summer.
Products could then be tied into promotions, offering a discount when customers spend more than a specified amount.
Although Fisher concedes that consumer interest is difficult, he is confident the non-food drive will give retailers more reason to join the Spar group. “Retailers have seen the supermarkets do well in non-food, so are really keen for anything that will give them a competitive edge. People want to buy things locally from their local shop.”
Spar has already tested some products on a region-by-region basis, selected by individual wholesalers. However, this drive will source items for the entire network, combining the buying power of the whole group.
Rachel Barnes