Mark McCammond (left), receives The Grocer Gold award with Henderson Group joint managing director, Geoffrey Agnew

Henderson Retail, which operates 84 forecourts in Northern Ireland, has won Independent Retail Chain of the Year, at The Grocer Gold Awards last week. 

It is the third time in four years that the retail arm of the Henderson Group has been given the accolade by Forecourt Trader’s sister publication. 

The Grocer says that the winning streak is testament to growth at the business, which has 106 company-owned and operated Spar and Eurospar outlets. 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 forecourt supermarkets last year, which increased its retail footprint by 5.5%. The retailer also invested significantly in 71 refurbishment projects.

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.

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.

Mark McCammond, retail director, said: “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team in raising the standards for community retailing”.