Independent Retail Chain

Mark McCammond (left) and Geoffrey Agnew of Henderson Group

Winner: Henderson Retail – Spar

Northern Irish Spar retailer Henderson has taken the Independent Retail Chain gong for the third time in the past four years.

The winning streak is testament to its growth. In 2023, Hendersons delivered a 16.5% rise in sales – outpacing the 12.5% growth in Northern Irish grocery as a whole.

Those figures were partly driven by changes to its estate. Hendersons added six Eurospar supermarkets last year, which increased its retail footprint by 5.5%. The retailer also invested significantly in 71 refurbishment projects across its estate.

But it has also been quick to respond to the cost of living crisis. The chain has invested £12m in lowering prices over the past two years, with a particular focus on essentials such as bread and milk.

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Hendersons has also recognised the impact of the struggling economy on its staff – making further investments in reward schemes and pay across all levels of the business.

At the same time, Hendersons has maintained its focus on technology and innovative retail concepts. On the tech front, it rolled out an AI-powered automated stock replenishment system and more electronic shelf-edge labels.

New in-store concepts included the launch of a serve over Burrito Bar, an 11am to 7pm Pizza Bar and a new scratch bakery concept. Finally, it has revitalised its coffee loyalty scheme with a dedicated mobile app.


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