Monday 20 November 2017

Mace to open 50 new stores in €19m expansion

BWG plans to grow the convenience shop brand after devising new format, writes Samantha McCaughren

Leo Crawford, chief executive, BWG Group, with Daniel O’Connell, Mace sales director. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Leo Crawford, chief executive, BWG Group, with Daniel O’Connell, Mace sales director. Photo: Naoise Culhane
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Convenience retail brand Mace plans to add 50 new stores to its nationwide network by 2020, with the chain targeting new urban and rural locations.

The expansion is expected to lead to the creation of up to 700 new full and part-time jobs over the next three years.

Mace owner and operator BWG Foods, which also operates Spar and Londis, will invest more than €19m in the roll-out of the new shops alongside its retailers.

That investment will encompass new store openings, as well as high-spec refurbishments.

The brand has just launched a new three-year strategy and new store design to target growth on the main street, in neighbourhoods and on forecourts.

The design will be rolled out across the Mace estate, following a pilot store launch in Headford, Co Galway, last week.

Recently appointed Mace sales director Daniel O'Connell said: "Our plan is more around format than geography. We had a great opportunity to launch a store in Headford, Co Galway, recently and our next store will be in Dublin.

"We are looking at all urban and rural locations where we feel our specific concept stores will work."

He said that the brand has a loyal customer base which helped the brand outperform the market during the recession.

The new strategy focuses particularly on fresh food and the group has upgraded its own in-house food offerings with the launch of new concepts including the new Mace 'for food's sake' Deli, Asian Street Food and 'I Scream', its own ice-cream proposition.

Mace opened its first store in 1960. There are currently 165 Mace stores across the country, employing some 2,500 people locally.

Half-year figures for BWG Group, led by ceo Leo Crawford, released in June showed sales were up 1.6pc to €663m to the six months to the end of March, while pre-tax profits were up to almost €13m. However, concerns about the deflationary nature of the Irish grocery market and the impact of the Brexit vote were flagged.

Just over three years ago, South Africa's Spar Group bought an 80pc stake in BWG Group for €55m.

Sunday Indo Business

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