SPAR Featured in Top Industry Publication, Australia's Best, Including Exclusive Interview Geoff Gale

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Geoff Gale, SPAR Australia's General Manager for Merchandising and Marketing, has been featured by Australia's Best Magazine, published by Bean Media Group in Sydney. The highly-regarded series of publications are seen by many as an industry benchmark, and the feature on SPAR is a well-deserved pat on the back for the fst-growing company.

Last year, SPAR stores injected almost $300 million into Australia's retail economy. Although size brings obvious benefits in areas such as buying power and lessons learnt from all over the world, the key difference with SPAR is that every store is independently owned. This allows each store to make local decisions that benefit their customers.

SPAR and 5 Star (another supermarket brand serviced by SPAR Australia) have their own exclusive House Brand range of quality grocery products named Fabulous. The Fabulous Brand name has been a part of the Australian grocery landscape for many years and continues to play an important part for all SPAR and 5 Star grocery stores.

This range of products is specifically focused on everyday grocery categories with the simple objective of providing great quality products at fantastic prices. The Fabulous range extends across many categories in the grocery range including: canned foods, cleaning, health and beauty, confectionary, drinks, pet food, frozen foods, fresh milk and more. Continuing to grow, the Fabulous range is a high priority for SPAR and 5 Star retailers.

Good food, great service and highly competitive prices combine to make SPAR supermarkets a world-class local. An important part of SPAR's success is its relationship with key suppliers. SPAR make it a point to only deal with quality suppliers who have a favourable reputation within their specialised industry. Attributes that SPAR also seek from their suppliers is that they meet SPAR's targets for sales and growth and contribute to the company's marketing campaigns. "Our suppliers are always supportive of our promotional programmes, competitions and community events we hold around Australia," says Geoff Gale, SPAR Australia's General Manager for Merchandising and Marketing.

"On the business side, people always like to be a part of organisations that are growing. We like to support suppliers who are bringing out innovative products and ideas and who are willing to participate in the company's development."

In response to their suppliers support, SPAR holds an awards night for suppliers at the beginning of each year in February/ March.

The company held its annual Supplier Awards Night for 2008 on the Friday the 15th of February at Peppers Salt Resort & Spa at South Kingscliffe, bringing together some of Australia's top suppliers and acknowledging those that have contributed to SPAR's continuing success.

The highly-anticipated awards night, which recognises suppliers across seven different supply categories, has become a major annual event in the industry with around 100 people attending this year's function from close to 40 different suppliers.

KR Castlemaine Foods Area Manager, John Lunn, said he was completely surprised when they won the award for Refrigerated Food Supplier of the Year and felt tremendously appreciated by the global brand.

"It's such an honour for us to be recognised by SPAR, especially as this is our second year in a row for this award - we'll be working hard for the hat trick! It's all thanks to a great team effort at KR Castlemaine Foods and the incredible support we receive from individual SPAR stores," said Mr Lunn. "Every SPAR event is always very well organised and the awards' night was no exception. Our long-standing affiliation with SPAR continues to progress even further; they're not only a great bunch of people to work with, but they make it so easy with their very approachable manner."

Winner of the Grocery Supplier of the Year award, Kevin Dyer of Coca Cola Amatil, credits SPAR's determination to work with their suppliers in a partnership as the key to working together so successfully towards common goals.

"Coca Cola Amatil has been with SPAR since its inception in Australia and it's great to have recognition for our long-term relationship by way of this award, particularly following our win for Best New Product Launch the year before," said Mr Dyer.

"SPAR has an impressive capacity for future growth in Australia and we look forward to growing with them through 2008 and beyond."

Geoff Gale, emphasised the importance of recognising valued suppliers at SPAR's annual awards.

"SPAR Australia has been able to grow thanks to the contributions and support of many suppliers around Australia. SPAR's retail sales in Australia are growing year upon year. These annual awards are our way of saying thanks and to pave the way for even better results in the
year to come," said Mr Gale.

Key suppliers to SPAR include Bencody Agencies, Wrigleys, Fruitlink and Bartter (Steggles).

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CHRIS DUTTON
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