Lancashire halal firm forges partnership with Spar

Halal firm KQF has struck a partnership with convenience store symbol group Spar. 

The Lancashire-based halal food manufacturer and retailer formally reopened its 464.5m2 superstore on Whalley Range in Blackburn, which now incorporates a Post Office and a variety of Spar products.

KQF bought the superstore in 2013. The area is home to a large Muslim population and, soon after the original acquisition, the company set up an on-site butcher’s section, which is certified by the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC).

Through continuing investment, the superstore has grown in terms of footfall and size. However, early in 2015, MD Faruk Vali decided to pursue new strategic partnerships that would enable the store to offer more.

“All the changes that have taken place here… have been introduced to provide our customers with a better, more relevant and more convenient service,” said Vali, speaking at the opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the Post Office, Spar and local dignitaries.

“The work has demanded great efforts from our staff and all our partners, but it has been absolutely worthwhile.

“Footfall is the lifeblood of every retail operation and we’ve always recognised that we must do everything we can to improve the customer experience. Improving the store’s layout has been part of this but, about 12 months ago, we decided to do more.

“We realised that by building new partnerships, we could offer our customers a wider range of services and therefore give people even more reason to come into the store. I’m sure that the Post Office and Spar will both make a tremendous contribution to the customer experience.”

As a result of the strategy, the store now offers a full-service Post Office, a range of new snacks and halal meal deals, an ATM cash machine and a self-serve coffee bar.

These all come in addition to the company’s existing range of groceries, household goods and HMC-certified meats. The store opens for 100 hours a week and would serve as a model for KQF’s plans for expansion, the company said.

Andrew Hall, MD of Lancashire-based SPAR distributor James Hall & Co, said: “This is a wonderful example of different cultures working together to provide food and services to the whole community.”

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