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The leading symbol group SPAR UK is hosting its first virtual conference on 27 May 2021.

SPAR has reported year round support and a range of services for SPAR members and industry partners. The planned hosted live event will be an opportunity during the day for retailers and suppliers to hear from key personnel.

The virtual event will complement individual SPAR wholesaler events taking place throughout the year, said MD Louise Hoste. “It is important that we use the right platform to speak to our retailers and suppliers and this event provides us with the opportunity,” she said. “We are adapting to the current situation by investing for the first time in a virtual conference programme. We have over 2,500 people registered to attend with 500 FMCG companies also taking part. It is great to be able to provide a platform to gather together.”

Noting that the virtual platform will be used to promote how SPAR has grown as one over the past 12 months; shared ideas and solutions have all resulted in SPAR winning in the market together, the key takeaway from the conference will be based on how the group looks to build on this momentum.

“SPAR stores are a vital hub and make a huge contribution to the shape of the convenience industry. We never rested through the year. We have invested in new capabilities, new stores, new logistics, new products, and new people to redefine the future of convenience. The live virtual conference combines the best of the physical and virtual worlds at the moment and it will give us the opportunity to tell our story of how we are leading in the industry by making the necessary investments to emerge stronger.”

Reinforcing the importance of meeting physically when it is safe and right to do so, Hoste said: “We all want to meet as soon as we can but what is important now is the great networking opportunity between stores, people and brands.

“We are a people business and meeting physical remains part of our DNA. Equally important is the need to update the industry on what we have learned over the year and our plans for the next 12 months. These are the elements that can be brought to our audience online via the virtual platform. Our retailers are right behind this.

“We know there are many challenges out there but 2020 was an incredible success. We have learned how to be resilient and we are excited to share and engage with our best-in-class content and production in order to strengthen our relationships with new and existing retailers and suppliers,” added Hoste.

“We plan to build on that momentum in 2021 and offer our attendees, speakers and sponsors unparalleled content and execution for which SPAR is known.”

The SPAR Virtual Conference takes place on 27 May 2021. Attendance is by invitation only and the conference will focus on innovation, growth and learning from the past year and how SPAR will invest in what it has learned going forward with retailers, suppliers and customers.