Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for Spar stores in the south west, is reporting increasing interest from forecourt retailers impressed by the experience of Top 50 Indies the Chartman Group and Euro Garages.

The news came as the company announced its highest new store recruitment figures in over five years.

It has recruited 24 independent stores this year from a wide selection of competitors, including the securing of four Co-op disposals.

In addition, the company has been integrating 32 Euro Garage forecourt sites throughout its territory this autumn, re-fitting and merchandising stores under the Spar fascia.

“We have enjoyed tremendous success with new store recruitment this year, and are budgeting to bring in a further 24 stores in 2016,” said Nick Kenworthy, Appleby Westward’s sales director.

“The majority of new sites are neighbourhood locations, although we continue to experience success in appealing to fuel retailers as well, with six of our 24 stores coming from that market. Our appeal in this sector has been enhanced still further with the Chartman Group’s Winning Post store securing the Retail Industry Award for the Best Independent Forecourt in the UK.”

He added: “With Spar winning the Symbol Group of the Year award once again, the development of the Spar brand range and continued presence on television, along with our winning store format developments such as at Callington, we are able to demonstrate to independent retailers that we have the right solution to meet the challenges in the convenience market.

“We are delighted with the new partnerships we have forged with those independent retailers that have joined Appleby Westward in 2015 and we look forward to working closely with them in the future to enhance and develop their businesses within Spar.”

The Euro Garages outlets being incorporated in the Appleby Westward territory are a result of its purchases of sites from the oil companies, and will all be trading by the end of October. Some of the larger stores will include additional sub brands like Subway and Greggs to complement the Spar offer, with all sites using Starbucks as the coffee solution.

“We introduced 26 of the 32 Euro Garages sites in September which was a massive logistical challenge for Appleby Westward,” said Nick. “The partnership with Euro Garages is very exciting for us, and we look forward to working with them to develop the new business they have gained, along with any further opportunities which they may secure in the future.”