Source: CJ Lang

It focused spending on new refridgeration, flooring, ESLs and staff facilities 

CJ Lang sales rose 4.2% to £221.3m for the year ending 30 April 2023, following a significant investment across its company-owned estate.

CEO Colin McLean told The Grocer the Scottish Spar wholesaler had spent last summer revamping a number of its managed stores across the North Coast 500, including Spean Bridge and Balmacara, which was now “reaping dividends”.

It focused its spending on new refrigeration, flooring, electronic shelf labels, staff facilities and “modernising the Spar brand”, the business said. It also bought two new company-owned stores, in Thurso and Troon.

McLean explained CJ Lang was then able to showcase the upgraded stores to prospective independent retailers, which saw the likes of Scottish convenience store group David Sands join the business. It completed its changeover from Nisa to Spar earlier this year.

“We are now attracting the very best of Scottish retailers to join Spar Scotland thanks to our competitive wholesale delivered package and own label Spar range, whilst sharing the very best of our learnings from our company store investment programme,” said McLean.

CJ Lang, which also boasted a 10.3% uptick in pre-tax profits to £3.7m, said its focus on more food to go options under its CJ’s brand, local produce, and community-led values were also driving footfall and sales across its company-owned stores.

“From our Dundee distribution base, we are far better placed than most convenience store groups to support our customers all year round,” said McLean.

“We are focusing on quality rather than quantity, ensuring that retailers with our Spar name above the door adhere to our standards with appropriate remedial action being taken on those who fail to maintain them.

“With our vision of developing a solid business, not just for today but for tomorrow too, we have grown our independent sales and are excited to welcome on board more forward-thinking, quality Scottish retailers in the future.”

Post-results, CJ Lang has also recently bought independent convenience chain ScotFresh, taking its managed estate to 112 stores.