Overview

The food retail landscape is a highly competitive one, and food retail chain SPAR UK constantly looks to improve its market standing by engaging its stakeholders and spurring future growth. Every two years, it holds a convention in an overseas location for about 400 independent SPAR UK retail owners to update them on the latest SPAR initiatives and provide advice on increasing sales.

The convention also serves as an incentive trip for its retailers, suppliers and staff. The SPAR UK convention has been running for more than 40 years, and 1990 was the first time the chain had ventured into Asia for their convention, which had 450 delegates making their way to Singapore. Singapore was picked because of its good flight connection for ease of travel.

As one of the main gateways in Asia, it offered delegates the option of extending their stay in the region for a holiday or business trip as well. Its low crime rate and political stability also assured participants that Singapore is a safe destination to visit.

SPAR UK looked to Asia again for its 2014 convention. Having it in Singapore would not only provide a refreshing change of scene, but also help to inspire retailers in new ways. After all, Singapore’s rapid progress as a nation, and its strong reputation for efficiency and continuous improvement was in line with the convention’s theme - “Growing Together”.

Another factor is that SPAR UK wanted to find a retail-focused destination where attendees may take home additional learning points, and Singapore is a highly popular destination in the Asia Pacific for retail expansion. Singapore attracts a high level of retail entrants, because it allows them to test the Southeast Asian market and build brand awareness, given the country’s cosmopolitan consumer base.

Held from 4 to 9 May 2014 at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa, the 32nd SPAR UK Convention was attended by 340 participants, comprising SPAR retailers and their families, as well as staff from the London head office and a number of suppliers.

Execution

The company engaged Touch Associates to produce the convention programme and take charge of travel management, logistics and delegate management, while Pyramid AV handled audio-visual production. The six-day conference saw senior SPAR UK members and external business experts updating attendees with the latest developments in SPAR and the industry, as well as breakout sessions run by regional distribution centres, suppliers and retailers. It wasn’t all work and no play, as delegates were treated to a wide variety of fun activities and cultural experiences from beginning to end.