Spar originated in the Netherlands in 1932. It can be an independent store or part of a group and there are now approximately 12,500 stores in 35 countries.
The name is an abbreviation of the original Dutch phrase 'Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig' (through united co-operation everyone regularly profits) and was then shorted from De Spar to just 'SPAR'. De Spar in Dutch means a spruce tree - which is why it has a green tree shape as part of its logo.
Prices may be slightly higher than in the mainstream supermarkets but often I am pleasantly surprised that they are not very much more.
Mos little villages will have their own Spar shop - characterised with the well known red, white and green logo. Many of these stores are independents and being part of the Spar group gives them greater buying power.
Often these stores are smallish convenience shops - much smaller than our modern day supermarkets - but still laid out along the same lines.
For those of us who live out in the countryside these little shops are often a life saver. I know these days most of us tend to Do our main shop in the larger supermarkets - I for one do mine online because it is more convenient. However even our little 'local 'Spars were 3-7 miles away depending on which direction I drove, so even then they were not exactly at the end of my street.
However this all changes a few months ago when the new owners of our village garage expanded to have a little shop attached - and then became a small Spar outset.
Now our shop might not be really representative as it is very tiny and cramped - quite claustrophobic in a way - but it is surprising how much they pack in, plus of course they always have items on special offer by the tills. They sell the well known brands as well as their own par branded items.
Of course there is always chocolates, sandwiches and crisps as well as hot drinks and pies.Our shop enables you to restock with a vast array of items, from frozen peas and fish to milk, cereal and tinned goods. As well as store cupboard mainstays you can also get magazines, papers, as well as bread and cakes. There is alcohol for those so inclined plus toiletries, tablets and stamps. If you want to throw your money away there is a Lottery outlet plus a free cash machine. These days there are flowers outside as well as a 'a market stall' display of fruit and vegetables.
As many people say some items are a bit more expensive - but you have to weigh that up with driving about 14 miles to the nearest Tesco. The garage is a mile away from my house and in the centre of the village so within walking distance for most.
We always get our weekly papers there along with our petrol and with the shop being so convenient you never have to worry about running out of milk or cat food - which I regularly do!
As with all village facilities it is a question of either 'use it or lose it'. For years we were without any sort of shop so to have one almost on our doorstep is a real bonus as you do not always want to be driving miles just tog et a few essentials - and then finding you have bought a trolley full!
I find I am more disciplined in these little shops and only buy just what I need. Though they also have Birthday cards and various spices etc so the range is quite extensive.
Our local garage has been in the press lately for cutting its fuel prices to what they think are the cheapest in the UK - mainly as a loss leader to get customers into the shop. It is definitely getting customers as the garage is always really busy these day, so I hope it works out for them as it will mean we have a convenient little shop for years to come.
Our Spar and garage are open form 7am to 10pm so it has a good range of opening hours - so anything you run out of can easily be purchased.
===Would I Recommend?===
Once again I visited Spar, Scartho for a few items, and once more they attempted to rip me off. As if the shelf labelling of prices wasn't high enough, the till price was even more costly. This isn't the first time this has happened in that branch but it will be the last as I won't be returning. I was careful to make sure the shelf prices referred to what I was buying (they are often very misleading), but as usual once scanned the price of my two tins of fruit and one tin of soup was well over that stated, and I was asked for £3.54 instead of £2.98. I left without my would-be purchases and went around the corner to another shop. It's a con, pure and simple.
We have a spar just down the road from us and to be honest we will only use it if we really desperately need something and there is no where else to go!
There are Spar's scattered all over the country and you can often find them in a lot of European destinations as well so don't be shocked if you see one when your on your holidays!
Our local store is cramped, the isles are extremely narrow and it's a nightmare to try and get a pushchair around! The tills are tucked away at the end and it's hard to see where the end of the queue is because everyone just crowds around and there is no obvious direction which you are to queue in as it's so tight!
They sell pretty much everything from brand named products to the spars own products! But if you don't know the store well it can take a while to find what you need as they doesn't seem to be any logic in the way the store is set out! The fruit and veg isn't very good and sometimes looks like it has been there for days!
The prices are expensive which is one of the main reasons we would only use it if we were desperate! I think they can get away with charging these prices as they do have long opening hours so people don't have a choice but to use it when everywhere wlse is closed!
Sorry if this review is a tad short, I'm still packing as much info as I can. I'm in a bit of a rush and since I've not made a review in a while, a 350 word or so is better than an Express! Plus, there isn't much you can say about a wee shop, I suppose.
If you've read the other reviews on Spar, you'd see that many of us are
only a 5 minute ( or less ) walk away from one! I, too, am no different.
( By the way, I can't believe that it's the world largest food retailer. Carrying on )
The main slogan I reckon (or at least, is the main one where I live) is 'Spar: There for you'. I've lost count of how many times I've seen those words in my local Spar shop, so I'll leave it to you to count how many of them are in yours!
You're probably never too far away from a Spar shop. According to Wikipedia there is around 20,000 shops worldwide, if I read that right! Not bad! I am around a few minutes away from a Spar. What is quite annoying is that they are everywhere! I went on holiday in a caravan park and the only shop within the park was... SPAR. It was quite expensive to say the least!
I suppose Spar could somewhat... help the environment? If you walked there anyway. Since they are everywhere, make use of it!
More expensive than other shops. Why do they need to keep raising prices slightly? Not much, but it's starting to build up. Something for 50p in the Spar could easily be priced for 20 in ASDA or Tesco! What is the point in raising a Frump ( or Flump... hmmm... ) bar from 10p to 15p? It's quite depressing when you don't have another 5p.
In my local Spar there isn't a great deal of choice. It's fine for lunch as there is a choice of sandwiches, those 'Lunchables' and things like chicken bites, as well as a very good choice of drinks. They also have the usual food additions like ham,bread,butter,sweets,turkey,beans and noodles, I have yet to find a decent ready meal for dinner.
I'm sure you'll find the usual shampoo, conditioner, 2-in-1's, soap, handwash and toothpaste. I've found a lot of the products they sell, especially shower gel, is by the brand Enliven.
-Would you shop there often?
Only to get a quick Pot Noodle or Ben&Jerry's icecream (there is a whole fridge full of Ben&Jerry's... can it get any better?), something like that. Other than that, I'll probably stick to ASDA as it's much cheaper, better value and has proper food.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spar_(retailer) for info on the store.
The shops website is http://www.spar.co.uk/. It's not exactly fascinating but you never know what offers or competitions they are holding!
Hope this review has helped you.
Some time ago after I left school I worked for a few years in my local Spar store which was really close to my home. A Spar shop is like a very small supermarket, often referred to as a convenience store because of their location and opening times which can be from seven in the morning till late at night. This isn't that impressive when you consider that some big supermarkets remain open for 24 hours during the week but these are not usually within walking distance of your house so a Spar is perfect if at half past ten at night you would like a cup of tea but realise you are out of milk. They also offer similar products to a newsagent like the national lottery or they sometimes have the facility to enable you to buy electricity top up cards. They remind me a bit of the Kwik E Mart in the Simpsons run by Apu if that means anything to you.
I can remember in my town that the local newsagents were a bit worried when the Spar replaced the local Gateway because as well as the normal sweets, crisps and drinks they were going to stock a wide range of newspapers and magazines which they do to this day.
You can also find a limited selection of greetings cards but nothing in comparison to a well stocked newsagent or one of those famous card shops whichever one you use. You can sign up to the DVD hire service and although I am not sure of the price I would be quite confident that it would not be able to compete with the good value of a service like Love Film or Blockbuster on line if you use it regularly to justify the monthly fee.
There are items and products you might realise you need on the spur of the moment like batteries, light bulbs or tweezers as well as a selection of frozen and chilled goods and a decent offering of wines, beer and spirits.
Some of the promotional offers if I remember correctly were good for example; when it comes to buy one get one free opportunities but really this is the type of store you would go to in an emergency or to just purchase one or two items, you would not do any kind of weekly shop here.
I don't currently have a local Spar shop near my home. We have a Londis, but that's about it. I have however used Spar shops out on my travels and have to say that I have always been impressed.
Spar is in the middle of a corner shop and a supermarket. They are far bigger than any corner shops I've ever seen, but a lot smaller than most supermarkets. They don't have a lot of choice of brands for products, but they general variety of types of foods is pretty good and enough for most meals when you've got no option.
What I like about Spar shops is that they do have a lot of the known brands, not brands I have never heard of before and have no idea what they are like. I would never use Spar as my only place to shop, and I think most people would feel the same way there, but if I do use a Spar shop, it's nice to know that you can find brands you know and trust.
Spar can be quite expensive compared to supermarkets and don't hold anywhere near as much of a choice of products. They do have a lot of offers on at any given time though, which makes the higher prices more acceptable because if you shop well, you can still bring your bill down.
Spar tend to stock all the usual types of things you would expect from a mini-market. You'll find fresh bread and bakery products, fruit, vegetables and salad, tinned and packet food, chocolate and sweets and household and cleaning products. Each shop can be different, but these are the main groups I have seen.
One problem I do have with Spar shops is that of the ones I have used, you can't always park outside easily. For me this is a problem because I have a back problem and need to be able to park outside if I have a heavy shopping bag. Spar are not alone in this though!
Overall I think Spat shops are a good local service, they are often quicker and closer than a supermarket and hold most daily essentials products. You will however have to pay a premium on most products for the convenience.
I first started using Spar on a frequent basis when I went to University. I used to live just off Oxford Road in Manchester, it's jam packed full of students and the Spar there is a 24hour Spar. So many times after a night out walking back to my flat I have visited there to buy random things in my drunken state!
I liked that the layout of the shop is pretty easy to navigate around and the things that I want are easy to find. I also find that the shelves tend to be very well stocked when I go in, which is always a good thing! However I have noticed that some of the Spar stores I have been in to don't sell the cheese and onion variety of squares crisps, yet they sell the salt and vinegar version!
To me the prices actually seem slightly more expensive than other places but I only really use Spar as a newsagents these days and I don't mind that it is slightly more expensive because I hardly ever carry cash on me and at Spar you can pay on a card. You can also get cashback in Spar, which saves me from having to go to a cash machine also.
Although I only use this store as a newsagents you can also get much more in there such as frozen food, yogurts, fruit, sandwiches, etc. I think that this is really good because it is convenient. I also find the products to be of good quality and the fruit always seems very fresh.
For some reason in there I don't find the staff who work there particularly helpful. This is very strange I have been in a large amount of Spar stores and felt the same about each one. I think the training that they receive must be minimal and I guess customer service isn't one of their focus points with the type of store that it is. They do seem to be very quick and efficient on the tills though, so I never have to wait for long in there.
I wouldn't say go to Spar over somewhere like Tesco, but if you are passing and you need something they have a good range of products and you can pay on your card, however if you are trying to save money on items then it probably isn't the best place to go!
The Spar is a chain of convenience stores that span the length and breadth of the country. The experience with staff obviously varies greatly from store to store, my local one in Glasgow the staff are brilliant, funny, chatty and friendly> in other ones they were quite the opposite so it is hard to give a general overview of that.
One thing that is constant across the stores are the huge prices. It is particularly bad on things like sweets and crisps as well as your general items such as bread, toiletries and general cleaning items. What I can say is that they do stock a wide variety of items in such a small store and tend to be open a bit later than many local shops, so if you do need milk at 11 o'clock at night, the Spar is there.
This large stock of items leaves the stores feeling extremely cramped however and most looked tacky and extremely outdated. Then again you aren't on there to look at the scenery it is there for convenience and it provides that.
The spar shop just down the road from me has recently been given a bit of a revamp. Before it used to be a bit smelly and old but I had heard from a few of my friends that since it had employed a new manager the shop had improved greatly. Ever the optomist i decided to give this spar shop another whirl.
As I entered through the doors, i greeted by the smell of fresh bread. The store is also spotlessly clean and the floors and shelves show evidence of a proud and not at all workshy team of staff. There is always a radio playing in the store which i find a nice friendly touch, however it is not blasting, just gently playing in the background which i find adds pleasure to my shopping experience.
The shelves are always well stocked with a variety of products. From magazines and papers (which are always bang up to date.) to biscuits, frozen goods, soups, sauces, alcohol, milk, greetings cards, chocolate, snacks and alcohol. Plus a great deal more.
The price of the goods is dearer than in the supermarkets. I would say that you can pay up to 30p more for some of the goods in the spar compared to Asdas but this i believe is a small price to pay for the convenience.
I cannot really comment on the quality of a lot of the produce in the spar as i only pop in for a required forgotton essential. But the pop, milk and biscuits and bread i have bought here in the past few months since its revamp have been fresh and up to the standard i expect from my grocery store. I cannot comment on the fruit and vegetables sold at the spar as my store does not sell these. However they do have an instore selection of fresh breads, cakes and pasties and I have always found these to be fresh, good value and delicious.
The staff in my spar are ok. They tend to talk to each other instead of me. They will always say please and thankyou though and are quick and efficient when attending the tills. However The only bug bear I have is that sometimes there is only one till open and there is a long trail of people waiting to be served. This particularly bugs me when i can hear staff out in the stock room chatting. They dont seem to have the initiative to come and serve. I have never bought enough to warrant an offer of help with my packing but i have noted that on some occasions they will pack a few items for customers while at other times they wont bother. I think this is down to the shop assistant. Some are much more helpful in their jobs than others.
All in all though my local refurbished and newly managed spar shop is a great asset to my community. I always find that it is quite busy. I have to admit i would not even contemplate doing my weekly shop here, but for a quick forgotten item it serves a purpose and does it well.
The other main thing that i find great is that it is opened every day from half six in the morning which is very handy if you need some milk or ham for school sarnies first thing. I have used the spar at this time of the morning and it has saved me a great deal of hassle.
I feel that the spar name has left it self go in recent times. I remember years ago my mum doing her weekly shop at this spar. However in those days the shopping experience was much more pleasent. This spar has gone through a rough time in recent years becoming more and more slapdash and downright sloppy in its service and produce. But in all fairness this recent refurbishment has restored my faith in the spar.
Spar is the world's largest food retailer, with approximately 20,000 stores in 35 countries worldwide, can you believe it?? I can't. It's a convenience store that is located in also every location in the UK and similar to Tesco's Onestop, Smaller Sainsbury stores and Newsagents.
Spar is the UK convenience market leader and has a turnover is in excess of £2.7 billion which again, I cannot believe, can you??
There is a Spar just one minute from my flat and when I go in there, the products range is terrible, the prices are expensive and not even displayed currently, the tomatoes are rotten and the bread is stale. The only good thing about Spar is that it's convenient but in my opinion, convenience does not mean that you can sell rubbish products for high prices. I can understand if they sold quality products for high prices like Marks and Spencer's or average products for good prices like Home and Bargain, but Spar sell rubbish.
Customer service is any establishment, but especially stores are very important to get consumers to come back to you store, to build customer relations and ultimate better profits, but the customer service at Spar is so poor. They never offer to help with packing, the staff are always depressed and they don't give you a bag to pack your goods with until you have paid, so other customers have to wait for you to pack your stuff before being serviced.
Thank you for reading my review and my sincere apologises in advance for the lack of detail in this particular review, but there's not much you can say about the worst convenience store in the UK and possibly the world so please dont go, if you can.
Spar is a store which you can find at petrol stations mostly but they do have a few small branches of stores only to. I do not often shop at Spar unless I need something straight away on the spot. Spar sells everything and I mean everything from the drinks,chocolate,crisps very expensive the word is over priced!
Few times I have been to different Spar branches across the UK and always had some problems. Their staff they always have 2 working but do they really work? Their items are most of the times misplaced why would Coke Cans be next to Chocolates? Their staff never bother sorting that out but what is even more badder is they hardly help out expect take the money of you on the tills.
Back 5 months ago I went to a Spar in Leeds and had the problem of not finding some snacks. At first I looked my self but could not find the snacks anywhere at all. No choice but to call help I asked for staff but to my surprise they were so busy chatting away to each other they did not even notice me at all! I had to ask 3 times before somebody gave me some help on where to find my snacks.
It is bad enough their prices are over priced but with use less staff who would come to Spar. There has never been a single day where a item has been reduced on price. I hope the recession bites them badly because they need a lesson on cutting down prices. Why pay 75 p for Snickers? 80P for time out! Them are just prices which they take advantage of us customers hugely!
Taking my daughter to her dance class one evening I realised I had forgotten to give her a 'snack' for the break. Lucky for me I thought, I'll pop in to the Spar for a minute.
What a mistake!!! This has got to be the very worst shop I have ever entered!! The staff were busy chatting amongst themselves so I had to navigate my own way around the aisles to find something vaguely healthy - a task in which I failed!!!
When I eventually plumped for a packet of crisps (I could find nothing else suitable) and took them to the counter to pay I felt like I was interrupting their conversation. Finally a painted nail was pointed as me and I was told 'thats 45pence' at which point I prompltly paid and left.
If anyone wonders why these stores do not seem to be busy - the one I went in, despite being in the middle of a HUGE housing estate had no other customers bar me - I would suggest that staff are retrained in order to actually offer some customer service elements, and the prices are lowered!
I've been to Spar once in the last five years. It was to do a Mystery shopping task. The Spar outlet was located on a garage forecourt quite close to where I lived but I had never been to this place before. It was a cold blustery day as I recall. It wasn't a pleasant experience. I think I still have the receipt , let me check...
...yes, the event took place on the 22nd November 2007. I had to find £5 worth of items for which I was to be reimbursed. This was not an easy task. There was little to choose from and even less that was appetizing along the untidy neglected aisles. The food looked not fresh and unhealthy, I really didn't want to buy anything at all. There was little that was not covered in a fine layer of dust. The tins of beans looked dirty and sad. In fact the whole place was rather grim.
I looked for a 'staff member'. The only shop assistant available was a small chubby boy - a friendly looking cherub but obviously an under age employee who was no doubt sagging off school. The school bag and texts books scattered on the filthy floor buy the entrance must have belonged to him. I asked him if there were any trolleys and he pointed helplessly towards the only one in the shop - unavailable because it was full to the brim with discarded packaging. So I was left to juggle my purchases around the store like an incompetent shoplifter.
After taking notes ("...this is the worst mystery shopping experience in my life..."), I eventually bought two bags of way overpriced pale scabby looking pasta; one litre of extortionately priced milk in a dusty white bottle, a bag of non-organic bananas no doubt containing the residues of all the very latest Monsanto fungicides and pesticides, and some anchor butter. I never buy anchor butter but there was nothing else that looked safe to eat. With my arms full I made my way to the till.
Lining up at the checkout in a line of impatient motorists waiting to pay their petrol purchases there was a delay as I arrived at the front of the queue. The counter was cramped with no space to place my purchases so I had to keep juggling them about in both hands as I fumbled for change. The man at the till looked like he'd just gotten out of bed. He was wearing the uniform: a green jumper worn over what looked like his pyjamas. His tatty attire did not look clean and was full of white bits, hairs and horrible stains. If that wasn't enough this grubby individual also sported an unkempt moustache and spoke to a colleague in some foreign tongue whilst completely ignoring me at the counter as I waited for my change and the necessary receipt for this grotesque mystery shopping experience. I offered to use my own bag but the scruffy sod still failed to recognize my existence and proceeded to place my pitiful purchases into a plastic bag without my consent. Furthermore, the b***ard overcharged me for one item - something I realised only when I got home.
I'm sure I saw one of the managers entering as I left the store. I resisted the urge to strangle him. The only mystery about Spar is how it manages to stay in business.
My customer order number: 476766
Date: Thursday 22 November 2007
The Spar is a local convince store that can be found within most residential areas, also conveniently there is one located near to me, although it may be as good as it may seem.
The store is a akin to a miniature supermarket as it is on a smaller scale, but does not sell as wider range as the supermarkets and are definitely not as cheap as the supermarkets.
The type of products that can be purchased from the stores are the usual items that you would find from a local store, such as bread, milk and the newspapers. It also stocks food, either tins or fresh products; the store near me also houses a small butchery section that supplies fresh meat, while the store also provides freshly baked bread products in store.
Overall the quality of the products on offer in the store are what you would expect from a chain shop, as they are ok but are not of exceptional quality. The only real problem that I have with the store is the price of the products on offer.
The price of the products are usually extremely high when compared to other stores, either it be big supermarkets or other local stores. Normally I find products can be 25% to 50% more than what I would normally pay if I were to buy the product from a supermarket.
In terms of the staff within the shop where I live, they are all friendly and helpful, as most of the staff that work in the shop are local people as well, meaning that I know a lot of the people that work in the shop.
Overall I would not recommend going to a Spar shop unless you absolutely have to, as what it would seem is that the store charge rip off prices, as the owners know that if you cannot go to one of the bigger supermarkets then you are stuck, as you have no other chose than to go to their shop. But what I cannot understand is the store near me charges high prices but has a Co Op right next door that charges lower prices, but people still prefer to shop at the Spar store.
Before I start on this review I must point out that there is a very clean and well run Spar near my mum's house so my view doesn't go to each and every Spar shop.
Spar (U.K Limited) as a company is almost like a figurehead. They don't own all of the shops. The shops are franchises. This means that the shops themselves are independently owned and the business is licensed to sell a company's products (Spar) exclusively. Spar call this being a symbol group.
Spar was founded in the Netherlands in 1932 by Adriaan Van Wells and is now the UK's convenience market leader and currently employ more then 50,000 people. Spar UK has six Retail Distribution Centres (RDCs), which offer local retailers everything from the freshest food to financial packages. Internationally Spar has nearly 16,000 stores in 34 countries.
Whilst many items are more expensive then your normal grocery store you are paying for the convenience of the late hours and early openings. Especially handy on a Sunday when the big shops are shut and you've suddenly realised you're in need of a pack of nappies or something. Many stores offer that little bit extra with local services including a Post Office, banking services, bill paying facilities and in some a home delivery service.
Sports are important to the Spar Company. They support sports at all levels from school sports days to elite international events such as the Olympics.
All this being said my local Spar is something I try to avoid at all costs. The staff consists of four people of which two are repulsive to say the least. They are unkempt, rude and randomly discuss inappropriate topics with and in front of customers. On a number of occasions I have passed this store and seen one of the above mentioned staff members outside the door smoking. Fine, have a smoke, but at least walk away from the door to your work. The shelves are jam packed with stuff and usually it's not where it all should be so finding the price of an item can be tricky. The shop itself is tiny so if you're fat or have a buggy you don't stand a chance. The one time I bought cheese and fruit there I got it home to find the cheese looked as if it had melted and then been put back into the fridge.
I have read on the main website that Spar has high expectations of the stores and do regular mystery shops, but they obviously keep forgetting this one.
My star rating is a hard one because Spar itself is good but my local is very very bad so I've opted for a 3 star rating.
I will shop there again but only in a push.
(c) oioiyou 2009