The number of Spar-branded forecourt shops in Scotland has risen by 50% to 39 sites in the past year.

Since April 2004, Spar Scotland has recruited nine more forecourt convenience stores and there are several more sites in the pipeline between now and the end of April, according to Ewen Chisholm, forecourt business controller at Spar Scotland wholealer CJ Lang.

“We expect very rapid expansion this year,” he says. “There are several sites in the pipeline and we are currently talking to about 85 sites in total. We obviously won’t get all of those sites but we hope to convert at least 50% of them in the long term.”

Since Esso appointed Spar as its preferred supplier of retail fascia in August last year, a partnership has been created across the whole of the UK, and a site in Dunoon, Scotland, which officially opened in December, has become the first joint Spar/Esso forecourt since the deal was signed.

Several further Esso stores will be converting to Spar throughout 2005, and in addition, three Calanike/BP sites have joined Spar in Scotland, with a further two planned this year.

“Having seen the unique opportunity that forecourts present in today’s convenient consumer market, we are streamlining our offer to meet the needs of 2005’s forecourt retailers,” adds Chisholm.

“While suppressed fuel margins show no signs of improvement, there could certainly not be a better time to develop other profit streams and ensure long-term survival in today’s aggressive market.”