Spar wholesaler CJ Lang & Son Ltd has acquired Glasgow-based convenience chain ScotFresh Group, and also announced a £2.5m distribution deal for Northern Irish Premium coffee to go brand, Barista Bar.
The ScotFresh deal will see the nine branded stores and 130 colleagues moving over to be supported by CJ Lang & Son. Initially the stores will retain their existing branding and operated as a separate business unit, whilst being fully serviced and supported by CJ Lang’s central support teams and their distribution centre based in Dundee.
CJ Lang chief executive Colin McLean said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have acquired the ScotFresh Group of nine stores. ScotFresh has an excellent reputation in the industry and is a well-recognised brand with significant customer loyalty and strong relationships with suppliers.
“For now, the stores will remain branded as ScotFresh, and we will run the operation as a separate business unit within our own business so we can share best practice. We look forward to welcoming the ScotFresh management team and all store colleagues into the CJ Lang family.”
Meanwhile, Barista Bar has been developed by Henderson Foodservice, and forms part of the Northern Irish company’s long-term UK growth strategy and will see Barista Bar replace the company’s incumbent offering within 104 of CJ Lang & Son’s company owned Spar stores throughout Scotland, alongside a host of its independent retailers.
Barista Bar installation roll out has begun, with the first installation taking place at David Sands Pinkie Farm store in Musselburgh, East Lothian, back in August. Already the retailer, who joined the SPAR family in June 2023, has experienced a growth in sales of over 100% versus the previous coffee offering.
Mark Stewart-Maunder, commercial and development director at Henderson Foodservice commented; “This is an extremely exciting day for our premium coffee to go brand, and a huge testament to the commitment the team has displayed in making the product a resounding success since it launched in 2015.
“Two years ago, our Foodservice company invested over £6m into Barista Bar to upgrade the brand and machinery to produce a stand-out product that has had a hugely positive impact on our retailers’ sales and footfall, and our very first Barista Bar Drive Thru opened at Spar Mallusk just last year. We look forward to CJ Lang & Son’s stores and independent retailers experiencing this boost as we continue to show the benefits of a high-quality food and coffee to go offering within convenience retailing.”
McClean added; “This exclusive brand franchise agreement with Barista Bar coffee is a great commercial proposition for not only our Scottish SPAR independent retailers and our SPAR Scotland company owned estate but for all convenience and petrol forecourt stores in Scotland. We anticipate having Barista Bar coffee available in the majority of our company owned Spar Scotland store estate by the end of 2024, with the balance coming over in 2025.”