Focus on convenience trading
A Murco case study

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Page 4: A new partnership arrangement

Murco selected SPAR as a suitable alliance partner for its Withybush outlet, as it possessed the essential requirements of expertise and logistical support as well as being a recognised
brand across Europe. As a distinct franchise, it was of particular value in the chilled, fresh and prepared food sectors which were to be of vital importance at this particular store.

In the early 1980s, SPAR UK Ltd realised the future lay in convenience trading - an American concept which offers the customer “What is wanted, when it’s wanted”. Under the “Eight Till Late” banner, SPAR attempted to do something different from the rest of the UK grocery retailing industry. Its offer complemented, rather than competed with the multiples, providing a distinct, differentiated service to other sectors. Emphasis was placed on:-

  • extended opening hours
  • fast and friendly service
  • sensible prices
  • core convenience range
  • extensive ‘Own Brand’ product range
  • clean and attractive stores.

Convenience trading has become one of the fastest growing concepts in the UK grocery industry. It is characterised by the emergence of many new trends, in particular the rise of forecourt retailing as well as the major superstores operating small numbers of convenience
stores in both stand alone and forecourt concepts.

The forecourt store is well placed to exploit the convenience opportunity. Whilst the offer itself may vary from location to location, it essentially consists of a combination of impulse, top-up and emergency products allied to a concise grocery range within a friendly store environment with long opening hours.

Convenience operators and petrol companies alike have recognised the importance of having a strong retail offer, and partnerships have been formed which link the retailing strength of the grocery industry with the knowledge and experience of the forecourt operators.

Murco | Focus on convenience trading