Spar says it is now the largest forecourt retailer in the UK by site numbers, following significant growth coming from multi-site retail partners in 2016, with 1,200 Spar shops on forecourts.

Top 50 Indies which are partners of Spar include: MRH; Euro Garages which has rebranded many of the shops on the Shell sites it acquired with Spar; Rontec; HKS; The Kay Group; Valli Forecourts; Hills Group; Chartman Group; and Simon Smith Group; and it also has partnerships with Roadchef and several oil companies.

Debbie Robinson, Spar UK managing director, said: “Forecourt retailing is a very important to us. In the last five years we’ve worked hard at developing this side of the business. Petrol fuel retailers form an increasingly vital role in our strategy for growth.

“We have some of the biggest names in the forecourt industry working with us, as well as hundreds of successful independent retailers. 2016 was a very exciting year for Spar and forecourt retailing and we have some exciting developments opening in 2017.

“For retailers, our forecourt offer has a great many benefits. Flexibility on the fuel offer and the support of a symbol group bringing a high-quality retail range which are all compelling reasons to work with us.

“We know the strength of our food offer at fuel site plays an ever-increasing part in the decision-making process – so offering fresh and high quality food on the move is vital. We are focusing on bringing our Daily Deli foodservice offer to more forecourts, at the same time looking at the service area, bakery and coffee solutions. We are excited about the future of forecourt retailing.”

The news came as Spar UK revealed overall retail sales figures for 2016 rose by 8.5% to £2.84bn. It added 186 new stores last year to bring numbers to 2,620, with a total retail area of 371,189m2, and sales per m2 up by 4.2%.

The results place Spar UK land in third position in Spar International’s global retail sales.

Robinson said: “Spar UK is in a fantastic financial position, proving ourselves to be a strong, stable long-term partner to both our retailers and international colleagues. We continue to take a more personal approach with our customers ensuring we have the right products and services.

“Our experience, knowledge of the market and the consumer sets us apart in times when others are finding the marketplace challenging. Our partnership approach and collaborative model provides retail businesses with huge opportunities to grow.”

Spar UK’s success is down to its wide range of customer-focused initiatives that are exactly what today’s convenience shoppers are looking for, said Robinson.

“Our Daily Deli foodservice offering, more fresh food including butchery and deli counters, and our award-winning Spar Brand range are just some of the reasons shoppers now see us as a go-to destination for great-tasting, fresh food,” she said.

“We have also boosted our digital advertising and targeted our promotions at younger shoppers, which has been really well received, and have been recognised repeatedly over the year with industry awards,” said Robinson.

Spar stores in the UK are examples of cutting-edge retail design, bringing modern store concepts that are easy to shop, she added.

“Being part of the unique partnership with Spar International gives us the edge in retail, making us a global organisation delivered locally, often through family businesses, and always with passion and integrity,” said Robinson.

“Spar is a family-owned business with 60 years’ operating in the UK, while staying modern and relevant for the shoppers of today – putting us in an ideal position for the future,” she concluded.