FT Blights Motors Bideford

A refit just after lockdown restrictions were eased has provided an uplift in trade for a Spar forecourt store in Bideford, Devon.

In a co-investment with Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south west, Blights Motors undertook a merchandising refit, condensing the existing grocery offer, turning around the gondola ends, introducing Cook Frozen Meals range, new signage, and increasing the range of cold soft drinks.

Also new to the store are rollover hotdogs, slush puppy, a new refrigeration unit to double the chilled display, a revamp of the existing freezer decals and the conversion of cigarette storage to an under-the-counter drawer system to free up space to display spirits.

Store manager Teresa Blight, wife of Jeff, one of the garage directors, said: “We carried out the changes just after lockdown and are very pleased with the results. For example, there has been a 40% increase in alcohol sales in the year to date.

“I was in two minds about the introduction of the Cook range, but the reaction to us stocking the products has been great. Customers think the changes we have made are brilliant and we have noticed more people are shopping locally post-lockdown, which is obviously good for our business.”

Her son Nick, who is also a director of the business, worked alongside Appleby Westward to supervise the overall refit. He said: “I would like to thank the Appleby Westward team for managing such a trouble-free process so soon after the lockdown restrictions were lifted.”

Blights Motors was founded in Bideford 87 years ago and moved to the present site in the early 1960s. The forecourt originally had a very tiny shop which grew over the years. The store moved under the Spar fascia 15 years ago and was doubled in size to 1,200sq ft in a major redevelopment in 2010.