The SPAR acquisition of 80% of the BWG Group in the UK we reported a month back really is, in case we hadn’t made this perfectly clear, a Big Freakin’ Deal. The BWG Group, you see, services over 1,100 stores, including 100 outlets it owns. It owns the SPAR brand in Ireland and south-west England, servicing 700 SPARs in a model similar to the one they run here. The acquisition comes at a time when the Irish economy is enjoying a modest rebound, growing at 3.5%, and with it the Irish consumer – a relief to SPAR back home, some of whose franchisees are taking some strain under the current economic regime. SPAR is apparently looking at the ownership model in South Africa – not in preparation for a Woolworths-style takeover of franchise stores, but to ensure that the current model is optimised for both SPAR and its members.
Comment: Tough times for everyone out there. SPAR, with its unique model, is meeting these challenges head on, with its unique trading model and an added twist of boldness.