Forecourt-specific planograms and rolling weekly promotions were just some of Spar wholesaler Blakemore’s sales-boosting plans revealed at its annual conference yesterday (June 12).

Developing partnerships was the main theme of the conference, and group managing director Peter Blakemore spoke of the successes of the Capper/Blakemore integration, detailing how the two separate companies had become one stronger business.

“By the end of 2012 there will complete integration, culminating in the harmonisation of SparPOS. By adapting a best of the best approach, we will achieve not just a bigger Blakemore but a better Blakemore,” he said.

Managing director of Blakemore Trade Partners Jerry Marwood detailed quick wins to be gained through developments such as a new pricing strategy and forecourt-specific planograms, and spoke about how the longer term business goals were built around delivering what the customer wants and how the group planned to refine them going forward using a partnership approach.

Rob Davis, sales director for the North, looked at three initiatives currently affecting retailers: Tesco Price Match, phased promotions and tactical sales. He demonstrated how Tesco Price Match increases perception of value and therefore the opportunity to increase basket spend.

Davis spoke of how the company is looking to move towards rolling weekly promotional changes of one of the three major categories (ambient off-licence and fresh) rather than the current three-weekly cycle. Reasons for this move included ease of implementation, more excitement for customers and smoother cash flow.

Trading director Mike Boardman outlined specific sales activity to drive sales on produce which will include a payback on produce for meeting set criteria. He highlighted an increased focus on Spar Brand (own label), how the business is looking to push non-foods and detailed a rewards package which will be offered to stores that are promotionally compliant.

Blakemore Retail managing director Geoff Hallam highlighted the change in focus for Blakemore Design and Shopfitting from being a sales arm of the business to offering a complete store refit package with development and support, and revealed the major energy savings to be had by installing LED lighting and in particular by fitting chiller doors which he said were no longer barriers.

Hallam offered all retailers the opportunity to have an energy survey for £400, which would be refunded against any future work done by the shopfitting division.

Marketing director Richard Harman stressed that Spar cannot afford to stand still. He talked about areas which need constant and consistent improvement including value perception, focusing on themed events and the rolling sales plan which will look at product and pricing more strategically than ever before.

Sales director for the South Bryan Walters talked about the importance of the Meridian and Welsh Guild and how it is run.

Managing director of Spar UK Debbie Robinson was also present to outline her vision for the business going forward, which defined a collaborative approach for all the UK wholesalers to drive sales and profitability through a structured 10-point plan. She highlighted the strong partnership elements required to make this happen.