Top 50 Indie Refuel & Go has increased like-for-like sales by 10% since it relaunched its eight forecourt sites in London and the Home Counties under the Spar fascia.
The company now has eight Spar-branded stores supplied by Blakemore Trade Partners. It has 10 sites altogether two are leased to BP/M&S (one in Rayleigh, Essex and one in Snodland, Kent). The stores have extended their chilled food offering, implemented new Tonight’s Tea meal solutions and introduced Spar own-label products, and continue to develop tailored product ranges for each location.
Refuel & Go managing director, Andrew MacDonald, said: "Refuel & Go traded under the Mace fascia for 20 years and is a former Palmer & Harvey Symbol Retailer of the Year. It was a surprise when the supplier went down suddenly at the end of 2017 but we had seen the writing on the wall and had a Plan B in place fairly early.
"We are confident Blakemore Trade Partners will be a true partner to drive our business forward. We’re very comfortable with what we’ve heard from them and their plans going forward. It’s proved to be a good move and customer reaction had been very positive. Spar has more brand presence than Mace did, and it gave us the opportunity to refresh the stores at the same time."
Nine out of the 10 sites in the estate are branded BP, with one Shell site: "We’ve traded with BP since the early 1990s, and have a good relationship with the company and with our territory manager," said Andrew. "It helps that you’ve got that link with the same faces it’s important. It’s a good thing to pick up the phone to the same person someone who knows your business." Refuel & Go’s eight forecourt sites are located in: Bethnal Green, Croydon and Swiss Cottage in London; Chiddingfold in Surrey; Braintree, Black Notley and Hornchurch in Essex; and Windsor in Berkshire, but the company is keen to add to the network: "It’s a big topic of conversation and debate in the industry trying to find the next site," explained Andrew. "We operate in the most competitive area the South East where property is at a premium. It’s very difficult, but we’re highly acquisitive and looking to develop the estate where possible. Otherwise in terms of the year ahead, we’re very positive. Margins are incredibly good (although a bit of cold weather would help!). There are lots of changes ahead, not just in the industry and we’re waiting to see how all that settles down. But for now we’re thoroughly engaged in fuel retailing, enjoying it, and hoping to push on."