Spar integration complete at David Sands’ stores

David's Kitchen

The final step of the integration of the David’s Kitchen and Pinkie Farm stores into Spar Scotland was completed last month representing a major coup for the Dundee-based wholesaler and retailer.

By Antony Begley

It’s been a long time coming but last month saw Spar signage hoisted proudly above the David Sands Group’s three David’s Kitchen stores in Glenrothes, Falkirk and Kirkcaldy as well as its Pinkie Farm store in Musselburgh.

The move was first announced way back in September of last year when Spar Scotland CEO Colin McLean stunned most of the audience at CJ Lang’s annual tradeshow in Aviemore by announcing that the four stores would be shifting their allegiances to Spar.

‘Never again’

Unsurprisingly, McLean viewed the news as a major coup and another major milestone for him and his team as they continue to revitalise the once ailing Spar brand in Scotland. The move was especially significant given the fact that David Sands’ father Lynsey had famously once proclaimed publicly and vehemently that he would “never work with Spar again”.

David Sands however, as anyone who knows him will tell you, is nothing if not a pragmatist and while the decision to move to Spar certainly wouldn’t have been taken lightly, it would have been taken with a cool, clear head.

Founded in 1812, David Sands is a family-owned, fifth-generation business that continues to thrive more than 200 years later – and the fact that Sands trusts Spar to deliver for him, in every sense, is a badge of honour for McLean and his team in Dundee, as was abundantly clear when he made the announcement last year.

A word from Dan….
Dan Brown
Dan Brown

Dan Brown, Managing Director of Pinkie Farm, said: “The Spar brand has been well received by our customers, and we have been impressed with the ranging and support available to us.

“In transitioning across to Spar, we have been able to maintain and grow a strong range of chill and fresh and have benefitted from some great promotions and NPD. The store design team has done a great job in bringing all of our points of difference to life, and we look forward to building upon these further in the future.”

Job done

Fast forward nine months and the famous red Spar signage is finally gracing the four stores. All have adopted the newer Spar Market fascia, reflecting the importance of fresh and chilled as well as freshly prepared food-to-go in all four stores.

The David’s Kitchen group of three stores arguably started the food-to-go trend that the majority of the local retailing sector takes for granted these days. It was certainly among the very first convenience store chains in Scotland to focus predominantly on freshly made food, ready for immediate consumption, or to take home.

The market has evolved since then, but Sands continues to set the pace in many senses. Each David’s Kitchen store has its own kitchen and up to 40% of sales come from freshly prepared products sold in the stores.

Run by former SGF President Dan Brown, Pinkie Farm convenience store operates a noticeably different model from the David’s Kitchen concept, more instantly recognisable as a convenience store, but with stunning execution and theatre across every category and a strong emphasis on fresh foods and kitchen products.

Game on

The signage may only have gone up recently but Spar Scotland has been supplying all four stores for several months and has been working with the David Sands Group on the overall design, look and feel of the stores. A “huge amount of work” was also done, says Spar, on store layouts, overall product range and an increased range of Spar own-label products.

Additionally, a new sub-brand called Carla’s Kitchen has been created at Pinkie Farm and is incorporated into the in-store food-to-go area as well as featuring on external signage.

Carla's Kitchen

Brian Straiton, Independent Sales Director for CJ Lang & Son, said: “We are really pleased to be working with David, Dan, Keith and their teams. We have worked closely with them on range development and the internal and external branding of all four stores to Spar Market, whilst ensuring their local identity is retained throughout. We are looking forward to helping them grow their business and having a long partnership with one of the best Scottish independent retailers.”

First step

As for David Sands himself, he declared the re-branding “only the first step”, explaining: “Having the full support of the Spar brand and the team at Dundee means we can offer our local shoppers a substantial range of products and great service. It is really important to us that we exceed the needs of our customers every day. It is also hugely beneficial to have the Dundee depot in such close proximity to us, as supplies into our stores are now much more reliable.

“The recent re-branding looks fantastic, and it is only the first step. We will be doing lots more with promotions and the range of fresh foods so we can remain ahead of the competition.

“Our partnership with Spar Scotland and CJ Lang & Son is giving us the confidence to move our business forward. We are combining the best of David’s Kitchen and Pinkie Farm with the best of Spar Scotland – a powerful combination.

“Our vision is to continue to develop our business not just for today but for future generations and Spar Scotland is the only symbol group who can support us in our journey.”

A word from Keith…
Keith Fernie
Keith Fernie

Keith Fernie, Managing Director of David’s Kitchen, said: “Credit to the CJ Lang team in Dundee for their exceptional support in swiftly resolving all issues. The range of products and pricing is good and the branding on stores looks great, it effectively incorporates the Spar brand while preserving our own unique local identity.

“The jewel in the crown for us has been service. Deliveries and communication have been excellent, we have not had one cancelled delivery and, as all retailers are aware, it’s all about getting stock, when we need it.”

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This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.