Retailing group BWG is to add 45 new Spar and Eurospar stores over the next two years, employing 1,000 staff. Along with franchisees in its Spar/Eurospar store network, it also plans to invest €25 million in store refurbishments.
The changes are part of a new strategy for BWG’s Spar network, and its larger-format Eurospar brand. It includes store redesigns with a technology-led shift towards digital shelf labels, digital menu-boards and in-store wifi.
The new store design will be based upon an upgraded Spar store at Millennium Walkway in Dublin, close to the Jervis Street shopping centre.
BWG has begun identifying development sites for the expansion of its Spar/Eurospar network, which currently comprises about 450 outlets. It is seeking “high transit” locations in town centres and near transport hubs.
The new strategy was devised in partnership with Spar International, the Dutch global brand owner. BWG Group, which is majority-owned by the listed group Spar South Africa, in turn owns the master franchise for Spar Ireland. BWG's Irish network also includes retail brands such as Mace, Londis and XL.
Spar International may eventually roll out the Irish-pioneered new store concept in its global network, which includes the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and China.
Leo Crawford, BWG's chief executive, told Irish-based Spar franchisees at its annual conference today in Killarney that the new digital-led strategy is a "game changer" for the Spar and Eurospar brands.
“[ It] will transform our sector,” he claimed.