Spar’s wholesaler in Scotland, CJ Lang, has described Somerfield’s takeover of Aberness Foods, which operates the Mace brand, as a “huge opportunity” for expansion of the Spar fascia in Scotland.

Ed Ferguson, managing director of CJ Lang, said: “This takeover leaves CJ Lang as the only independent Scottish-based wholesaler and one who is absolutely committed to the support of independent retailers who continue to represent 80 per cent of CJ Lang’s group business.

“Far from seeing the takeover of Aberness as a blow we see it as offering a huge opportunity to grow our store numbers by attracting independent retailers within Mace who are not convinced by the multiple ‘one size fits all’ business ethos.”

Within the last year CJ Lang has extended its range of services and support to independent retailers both in terms of commercial help and human resources.

“We have the capability to deliver full grocery, fresh and frozen products to all of Scotland three times a week,” adds Ferguson. “And a comprehensive marketing programme including national TV advertising, leaflets and an ongoing Millennium Store development programme has given those refurbished stores up to 40 per cent sales increases.”